If you have started your period unexpectedly or find you have scheduled your Pap during a time when you may have your period, call your doctor's office. Ask to speak to a nurse or the doctor and inform them 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.
It is also suggested that women avoid having anything in the vagina 24-48 hours prior to a Pap smear. This includes:
- sexual intercourse
- spermicides, foams, or jellies
- vaginal inserts
All of these things can make it difficult for the pathologist to accurately interpret results. But most important, don't avoid having the test done; it's better to have a Pap smear at a less-than-optimal time than not at all.
Resources: "The Pap Test Questions and Answers." Dec 2003. National Cancer Institute.
"The Pap Test Questions and Answers." Dec 2003. National Cancer Institute.