3 Tips To Prepare For Your First Pap Smear

Cervical cancer and certain types of sexually transmitted diseases and infections are usually discovered during a routine Pap smear. A gynecologist will collect a sample of cells from your cervix during a Pap smear. 

If you have never had a Pap smear, you may find yourself feeling anxious prior to your appointment. Here are three simple things that you can do to prepare for your appointment and ensure that your first Pap smear goes smoothly.

1. Avoid Scheduling DuringYour Period

The last thing you want to do is schedule your first Pap smear appointment during your period. Be sure that you consult your calendar to determine when you should be in the clear. An experienced gynecologist is able to collect the required cells when a patient is on her period, but the collection process can be slightly painful.

To ensure that you have a positive experience and will continue to schedule regular Pap smears throughout your adult life, be sure that you work around your period when scheduling with your doctor.

2. Wear Separate Articles of Clothing to Your Appointment

If you haven't had a Pap smear, you may not know what to expect when you arrive for your appointment. A nurse will have you remove your clothing from the waist down as you prepare for the procedure. The type of clothing that you wear to your appointment can impact your comfort level during the Pap smear. Always wear separates to your appointment. If you wear a romper or jumpsuit, you will have to completely disrobe. This can make some people feel self-conscious. Separate articles of clothing are easy to remove and can minimize the amount of time you spend in your gynecologist's office.

3. Abstain From Using Certain Vaginal Products

There are certain products that you will want to avoid in the days leading up to your first Pap smear. Douches, vaginal creams or jellies, and spermicidal foams have the potential to temporarily wash away or alter the cells in your cervix.

You want to ensure that your gynecologist is able to collect a representative sample of cells so that the results of your Pap smear will be accurate. If you use a vaginal product that washes away abnormal cells, you compromise your chances of catching any cancer or infection early enough to make treatment possible.

Pap smears should become a regular part of your health care routine. Start off right by taking the time to adequately prepare for your first Pap smear.

For more information on Pap smears, contact your gynecologist