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Can You Get a Pap Smear if You are on Your Period?


Updated May 29, 2014

Question: Can You Get a Pap Smear if You are on Your Period?
I recently scheduled my Pap smear with my doctor's office and realized there is a good chance I will be on my period at that time. Can my doctor do a Pap smear while I am on my period or should I reschedule?
Answer: It is not recommended to plan your Pap smear appointment during a period. Menstrual fluid and blood may make it difficult for the pathologist to interpret results. However, if the flow is light, some doctors will perform a Pap smear. Newer, liquid-based Pap smears can separate cervical cells from mucus and blood, allowing a more accurate reading.

I would recommend that you call your doctor's office. Ask to speak to a nurse or the doctor and inform him that your Pap smear will coincide with your period. You may be asked to reschedule, or be told to keep your appointment. In that case, the doctor will most likely check to see if the flow is light enough to proceed with the test.


Pap Test." WomensHealth.gov. Mar 2006. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 11 March 2008. http://www.4woman.gov/faq/pap.htm#pap06.

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