Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I need a pain medicine injection before my first PAP smear?"
I am a 20 year old virgin and have never had a PAP smear, will I need a pain medicine injection to numb the area? I am scared of needles.
The new recommendations that were recently released don't recommend your first pap smear until age 21. If you have still not been sexually active at that time you should discuss with your doctor whether they feel you need a pap at that point or if it is safe to wait until you are sexually active. A pap smear is a test that is used to detect cervical changes and cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV (human papilloma virus) that is spread through sexual contact. When you have your first pap test you will not need any sort of injection so you don't need to worry about any needles. A pap test is not painful but can be somewhat uncomfortable. Your doctor should make sure that you are as relaxed as possible and talk you through what they are going to do at every step of the way. Gynecologists, family medicine doctors, and internists all perform pap tests. During a pap your doctor will position you in stirrups and insert a speculum (a metal or plastic piece of equipment that allows your cervix to be visualized) into your vagina. They use a small wand and brush to collect cells from your cervix that are then sent to a lab to be tested. The whole thing usually takes less than 5 minutes.
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