Story by: Norton Healthcare on November 4, 2022
Can you get a Pap smear or pelvic exam on your period?
The answer is yes!
If you’ve scheduled an appointment with your gynecologist and you’re on your period, there is no need to cancel the appointment. Normal vaginal bleeding should not get in the way of a Pap smear or pelvic exam.“An OB/GYN still can perform an exam when you’re on your period, but it’s also OK to reschedule the appointment if you are feeling uncomfortable,” said Rosemary C. Sousa, M.D., OB/GYN with Norton Women’s Care. “Menstrual bleeding shouldn’t impact important tests we do during an exam, such as a Pap smear, pelvic exam or STI [sexually transmitted infection] testing.”
First of all, there is no need to feel embarrassed. After you check in for your appointment and a medical assistant takes you to the exam room, let them know that you are on your period. You can remove your tampon, pad or menstrual cup in the restroom.Inside the exam room, pads are available to lay underneath you if needed. A swab may be used to remove remaining menstrual blood inside the vaginal canal so the provider can check that everything looks healthy. Otherwise, the exam should proceed completely as normal.The most important aspect of a gynecological visit is that you, the patient, feels comfortable. If you have heavy bleeding or cramps, it’s OK to cancel the appointment — however, your provider should be made aware that you are experiencing any painful or abnormal symptoms.
It’s totally normal to talk about your menstrual health with your gynecologist; and if you are on your period, you should feel comfortable enough to attend the appointment without feeling embarrassed.If you decide to cancel the appointment, be sure to reschedule it. A Pap smear and pelvic exam can be lifesaving screenings that can impact your overall health and fertility.
Our team of OB/GYNs tailor care for each patient’s individual needs — including menstrual health and beyond.
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