Repeat after me: no penetrative sex 24 hours before a pap smear! It seems like a pretty intense rule, but there's a serious reason we should pay attention, and it can have serious implications for our health. Maybe schedule some intimacy time for after," said Dr. A pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer that checks for abnormal cells taken from the cervix.
Is it okay to have sex the night before my OB/GYN appointment?
Overview of the Pap Smear Procedure
It involves examining cells taken from the cervix under a microscope. If any are found, further testing, such as a colposcopy or biopsy, will be done in order to diagnose cancer. The test is named after George Papanicolaou, the Greek doctor who invented the procedure in the early s. A Pap smear is meant to detect abnormal cervical changes that may suggest that cancer is likely to develop or that cancer has already developed. Pap smears usually are done as part of regular pelvic exams. For certain women, cells taken during a Pap smear are also tested for high-risk strains of human papillomavirus HPV , which can cause various cancers. There are more than strains of the virus, but not all cause the disease.
It reminds me that what is a very routine exam for me is anything but routine for the women who are experiencing it. But unlike the dentist, where brushing and flossing is essential, women need not do anything to prepare for an exam with their gynecologist. It is also impossible to evaluate an abnormal discharge or odor if the environment has been altered. That means no spermicide, no medications, no lubricants and no douching you should never douche under any circumstance! And, ideally, no sex.
Learn about our expanded patient care options for your health care needs. For a Pap test, your healthcare provider will collect and examine cells from your cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus. He or she will do this test to screen for cervical cancer and other problems.