If you are quite proud of yourself for having planned a Pap smear or a pelvic exam, we will not blame you. This kind of preventive care is incredibly important, but also easy to refuse or cut out of your schedule as you become too busy. A big compliment to you. But what should you do if you find that your period happens to coincide with your appointment?
Let's first discuss the difference between a pelvic exam and a Pap smear.
You may behave mentally These are grouped together in the Important Vaginal Exams category that you should know, but they are slightly different.
A pelvic exam is usually performed as part of your annual annual visit to Well Wives If you have symptoms such as an unusual vaginal discharge or pelvic pain, you need one of them.
During the examination, your doctor will examine your vulva vagina, cervix, ovaries, uterus, rectum and pelvis for abnormalities, says the Mayo Clinic . This usually involves a visual check of your vulva to look for irritation or wounds by using a speculum to keep the vaginal walls apart to see your vagina and cervix, and perform a manual examination to keep your pelvis in place Feel your vagina and possibly in your rectum.
A Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, involves collecting cells from your cervix to detect cervical cancer and to look for cellular changes that suggest this type of cancer is in the Developing the future, according to the Mayo Clinic .
To perform a Pap, a doctor will introduce a speculum into your vagina and then use a soft brush and a flat-bottomed device to take samples of your cervical cells called a spatula, [May1945Clinic explains. Not exactly the way you cook, but the same basic idea. These samples go to a laboratory where it is possible to look for possible changes in the cervical cells.
You may get a dad during a pelvic exam, but it is unlikely that you will have a test during pelvic exam . Current Guidelines recommend that people with a vagina begin Pap smears from the age of 21 and get a new one every three years until the age of 65. People with vaginas aged 30 to 65 years can opt for a pap smear every three years Pap plus HPV test every five years or just the HPV test every five years according to the latest guidelines of the US Taskforce for Preventive Services . (While a Pap looks for changes in the cervical cells that may result from HPV, a HPV test specifically looks for the presence of this sexually transmitted infection, which occurs less frequently after the age of 30 and may be more affected Here is more about how HPV tests work .)
You may need to have a Pap more frequently if you get an abnormal Pap outcome or risk factors such as: Cervical cancer.
OK, but what happens when you have your period?
It's usually okay to do both a pelvic exam and a Pap smear if you have your period, but it can affect the results of your dad.
Doctors say that there is usually no reason why you need to avoid getting a pelvic exam during your period, with one exception: if you have a pelvic exam because you are struggling with a strange discharge. "If someone is in his or her period, it will be difficult to adequately assess an abnormal discharge," says Dr. Streicher.
This does not mean that you should simply cancel your visit, as an abnormal discharge may occur for a variety of reasons that benefit from immediate treatment, such as sexually transmitted infections . However, it makes sense to call ahead and discuss the details with your doctor or a member of their team so they can tell you whether or not they are due to the full extent of your symptoms.
Like a Pap, you may still technically get one during your period, but it may still be better to schedule the test for a time when you do not expect to menstruate. Depending on how strong your flow is, your period may affect the test results.
"Normally this should not be a problem during the lighter part of the cycle" Jessica Shepherd . MD, a minimally invasive gynecologist at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, reports to SELF. "[However] Women sometimes bleed too hard to get an adequate cell sample for the Pap."
Of course, you may not always know when your period is up. "For women with irregular periods there is no way to know when they will get their period – I see that very often," Dr. Christine Greves, a board-certified physician at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells SELF. "We may not get the best representation of cervical cells because there is an extra amount of red blood cells, but if that's the only time you need for your Pap test, you should still get it."
The world will not end, even if you choose a daddy on your heaviest flow day. "The worst thing that's going to happen is that you have to go back to get retested," says Lauren Streicher, a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, SELF.
If your flow is strong and you do not want to take the chance to resume your paperwork, it is 100 percent okay to do a pelvic exam and then return to your dad after your period, says Dr , Greves.
You should also not feel that you can not complete these exams during your period, as this is "disgusting" for your doctor. It is not.
There is nothing vile or disgusting about your period . Bloody vaginas are basically a gynecologist. "That's what we do – we see people bleeding all the time," Dr. Streicher.
With that said, it is normal for you to feel unwell when being examined during your period. A good doctor will understand that, and although they try to explain why you should not be ashamed, you (or should not) judge you for it. "Some women ask not to be examined if they bleed, and that's fine," says Dr. Greves.
If you are not sure what to do, call your doctor. And if you have any concerns about your sexual or reproductive health, you should tell your ob / gyn patient if you have your period or not.