a doctor writing down four things that a pap smear does not detect

4 Things a Pap Smear Doesn't Detect

A Pap smear can detect cell abnormalities of most cervical cancers at their earliest stages and be a life-saving screening procedure, but it's important to know its limitations. Below are four kinds of medical conditions and health states that a routine Pap smear is not designed to identify.

  1. STIs

    Pap smear tests do not screen for gynecological problems and sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomonas, herpes, and other diseases. However, Pap smears might show whether you have an infection such as a urinary tract, yeast, or other infection. In should be noted that the identification of an infection during a Pap smear does not necessarily confirm the presence of a serious gynecological problem or sexually transmitted disease.

  2. Pregnancy

    Pap smears do not test for pregnancy, although your gynecologist may notice changes in your cervix typically related to pregnancy during your exam. If this is the case, he or she might recommend a urine or blood test to confirm pregnancy if you are not already aware of it.

  3. Sexual Activity

    Pap smears do not indicate your level of sexual activity. Pap smears are recommended for women ages 18 years and older, or when sexual activity in their lives begins. However, there is no way that a Pap smear can indicate the frequency with which you have sex or how many partners you have had.

  4. Fertility

    Pap smears do not show whether you are producing enough progesterone and estrogen hormones for the purposes of conception or sustaining a pregnancy. A separate, specific blood test needs to be done in order to determine whether you are producing sufficient levels of these hormones.

Last Updated: February 05, 2016