A woman who is still menstruating should schedule a Pap smear about two weeks after the start of the menstrual period. That's the stage of the cycle when the doctor can obtain the clearest, cleanest sample of cervical cells.
A woman who has reached menopause can schedule a Pap smear at any time of the month.
A woman who is having abnormal bleeding or any other gynecological problem should see her doctor right away.
What Activities Should A Woman Avoid Before Having A Pap Smear?
In the 48 hours before having a Pap smear, a woman should not
take a tub bath
use tampons, spermicides, vaginal lubricants, or feminine deodorant sprays or powders
These activities can irritate the cervix. Avoiding them helps ensure collection of an adequate cell sample.
Nice To Know:
It's a good idea to avoid scheduling a Pap smear during a holiday season when lab technicians may be preoccupied.
Nice To Know:
Questions A Woman's Healthcare Provider Will Ask
The healthcare provider who performs a Pap smear will want to know the date of the first day of a woman's last menstrual period and whether she
is sexually active
has ever been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
has ever had an abnormal Pap smear
has one or more risk factors for cervical cancer
has had surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy
is taking hormones, birth control pills, or other medications