Things Not to Do Before a Pap Smear


A pap smear is a test performed by a gynecologist to check for abnormal cells within the cervix. Abnormal cells can indicate possible cancer or other health concerns. Women who are 21 and older should begin having a yearly exam, and young women under 21 should have a pap smear done three years after their first sexual encounter. Avoid certain things 48 hours before your test to ensure you get an accurate result. Normal activities can be resumed after the test is completed.

Sexual Intercourse

Avoid sexual intercourse one to two days before getting a pap smear. Sexual intercourse often messes a pap smear up by misconstruing cells within the cervix. Spermicides used during sexual intercourse can also make a test hard to read. Avoid putting anything in the vagina two days before your pap smear exam.


Douching is not a good idea at any time, but those who still douche should avoid doing so for two days prior to a pap exam. Douching a day or two before a pap smear exam can wash away cells in the cervix, causing the test to be inaccurate.

Vaginal Creams and Sprays

Vaginal creams and deodorant sprays should be avoided before a pap smear test. Sprays and creams used on the vaginal area can often cause infections within the vagina. This can cause a positive result on a pap smear and a new test will have to be performed.

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