a woman preparing for her first pap smear

5 Tips for Your First Pap Smear

If you’re getting your very first Pap smear, you may be nervous, filled with questions you’re afraid to ask, and even dreading the procedure. First of all, these reactions are normal for someone getting their first Pap smear. This is a procedure that many women put off as long as possible, which makes others dread it for the same reason. Here are five tips to remember before getting your pap smear.

Understand that a Pap smear is important.

Regardless of whether you’re young or old, a Pap smear is necessary at least every two years. The frequency that you need to have a Pap smear may vary according to your age and other health factors, but the fact remains that Pap smears are important. They are the most effective way to detect cervical cancer conditions or conditions that could lead to cervical cancer.

Visit a doctor who makes your comfortable.

Few things can make a Pap smear (or any medical procedure for that matter) more uncomfortable than being with a doctor who makes you uneasy. Get to know your doctor before your first Pap smear. It can make all the difference in the world.

Realize that your Pap smear shouldn’t hurt.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Pap smears is that they really hurt. Unless you have a medical condition and you’re with an inexperienced and inconsiderate doctor, your Pap smear should not hurt. While it may make you slightly uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be painful. If you experience pain either during or afterwards, there may be something else going on, and you should inform your doctor of the situation.

Be aware that a Pap smear doesn't prevent cancer.

Like with most medical tests, having a Pap smear is not a guarantee that you will never get cancer. However, Pap smears are performed to detect any conditions that could be cancerous or precancerous. Early detection means early treatment.


The best thing you can do for yourself is to relax both before and during the procedures. Relaxing is the best way to ensure that your Pap smear isn't not painful and that it goes quickly.

Last Updated: February 05, 2016