Pap Smear: A Guide for First Timers

A woman at a doctor's appointmentWomen’s reproductive health is a complicated and sensitive topic. Not only are women at risk of diseases like cervical and ovarian cancer that do not show any symptoms, but all women who have fully functioning reproductive organs are also at risk. Therefore, preventive tests and maintenance are carried out to make sure that everything is functioning well.

One of these routine examinations is a Pap smear. Get to know more about the procedure and what to expect once you are in your OB’s clinic.

What is Pap smear?

Pap smear is the process of getting cervical cell samples through opening your vagina with a traditional or disposable speculum. This process is done to determine whether a woman has abnormalities in her cervix, has cervical cancer, or is at risk of having one.

Women are advised to have their first Pap smear test at the age of 21 or 3 years after becoming first sexually active. The process itself is pain-free, quick (it can be done in 5-10minutes) and can be conducted inside your OB’s clinic.

What can one expect during the procedure?

It is natural for someone to feel nervous during the first pelvic and Pap smear exam. But relaxing is the key to getting things done quickly.

The patient will be asked to undress from the lower torso and will be asked to lie down with the feet up in a stirrup. The doctor will then insert a lubricated speculum into the vagina. The process is pain-free, but other people might experience some discomfort which is perfectly normal. Therefore, it is essential to relax also to help your vaginal muscles to relax. A swab sample will be taken from your cervix and placed on a slide or container for testing. The speculum is pulled out, and the test is done. Usually, the results will be available after a couple of days.

Have a scheduled Pap smear soon? Walk in confidently and get through with the process immediately. It is normal to feel anxious for your first time, but you will pull through.