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"Can one have a pap smear on their period?"
I have a doctor's appointment schedule for tomorrow, and I'm supposed to get a full pelvic exam and pap smear. Unfortunately, I just got my period. Can I still get my pap smear, or should I reschedule my appointment?
A Pap smear is a very effective test done to screen for cervical cancer. It is recommended that all women who are 21 or older have a pap smear done regularly until 65 years of age typically. It is important to talk to your doctor about your sexual activity so they can determine how often the pap smear needs to be done. During the test, the doctor obtains a sample of cells from the cervix and vagina by using a brush. This is sent on a slide or in a liquid to the laboratory and the pathologist is able to look for any abnormal or cancerous cells and analyze for an infection (known as HPV or human papillomavirus). During your period, there are many hormonal changes that occur in your body which may make it more difficult for the pathologist to analyze the cells. The results are more likely to be inconclusive. As a result, it is preferable not to have the Pap smear done during the heavy days of your period. Some doctors will perform the Pap smear on one of the light days. You should call your doctor's office to ask what your doctor prefers. Of course, if you're not comfortable with having a pap smear done during your period, it's perfectly fine to reschedule.
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