Test Details & Preparation
For a Pap smear, your doctor will collect and examine cells from your cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus. The doctor will do a pap smear to check for cervical cancer and other problems.
It’s important to talk with your doctor about when and how often you should have a Pap smear.
What happens in a pap smear?
Generally, a Pap smear follows this process:
- Your doctor will insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. This will spread the walls of the vagina apart to show the cervix.
- Your doctor will use a small brush, swab or spatula to gently remove cells from the cervix and back of the vagina. The doctor will place the cells in a vial of liquid or smear the cells on a glass microscope slide.
- If you need an HPV test, your doctor will take a sample of cells for this test as well.
- If you have symptoms of a vaginal infection, your doctor can take a sample of vaginal for testing.
- Most often, your doctor will do a pelvic exam after the Pap test.
- Your doctor will send the specimen to a lab for further study.