Stay Well Testing Tip #2: Prep Ahead If You Want an Accurate Pap
Many seemingly innocent things can monkey with your results. Some actions docs don’t recommend prior to testing: Douching. The chemicals in douches irritate the cervix, which can lead to inconclusive results, explains Austin-based family physician Jill Grimes, MD. Patients should also avoid sex 24 hours before. Why? It’s tough to get a good, clean sample of cervical cells to analyze when there’s lubricant and semen around the cervix, says Dr. Grimes. You should also schedule your Pap when you don’t have your period. Some gyns will still do a Pap if you’re just starting or ending your period, but heavy blood flow on peak days makes it hard to get a usable sample, explains Dr. Grimes.