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Readers Respond: What does it feel like to get a Pap smear?

Responses: 38


Updated April 26, 2010

Although there are some women who have had strongly negative experiences with Pap smears, many women find them to be no big deal. This is a place for women to share their stories about what it is like to get a Pap smear - whether it was funny, painful, or boring. Please, however, keep any comments about whether you think Pap smears are necessary over here. This is a place for women to discuss their actual experiences during an exam.

To answer anonymously, log out of your account and post as a guest. Share Your Stories

2nd time

So the first time I was totally and completely freaked out. 21, sexually active and I made my mom go with me. I didn't even live with her anymore at that time. And of course, it went super smooth. Like, I don't even really remember it because it was so "that's all?" And nothing hurt just pressure. This time, however, I found out because the birth control I use extends my menstrual cycle it's probably going to trigger a short period. I looked up when she took everything out and I had totally bled everywhere. It was uncomfortable, but I also kind of had to pee. However, I am now laying on my sofa with cramps and nausea. Not fun. I would like to say, however, that being in medical anthropology I know that cervical cancer is called the preventable cancer. With regular pap smears early detection is possible for cervical cancer, a cancer that can occur without symptoms so that by the time you are sick enough to get looked at, it can be too late. So for that, I am thankful.
—Guest nausea


Stripping my clothes off and getting on a table just so a doctor can stick this metal thing up in me is completely crazy! My mom of course says it doesn't hurt but does she really think I'm going to buy that bullshit??!! Hell no! I'm turning 16 this year and I'm sure that either this year or the next my mom is going to schedule a pap appointment behind my back and (try) make me go. When she does, I'm going to put my foot down and say there is no way that I'm going!! Im not going until I WANT to go. It never gonna happen so you might as well forget it. I've read most of these comments and it seems that the women who are sexually active have the painless ones. So when I get married...ONLY if I want to get an appointment...I will go. But other than that... IT IS OUT OF THE QUESTION. N-O!
—Guest Jessica


We spend money on things that are not necessary, but when it comes on to our health, we're afraid doing what is right. A pap smear test is the easiest test there is.
—Guest Kay Bohlin


Why do virgins have to get a pap smear! That shit I going to hurt. Getting my first tomorrow. I am terrified and I am being forced to go through with it. Im scared to death.
—Guest fearful


A lot of these responses sound.... Uneducated. Regardless I am 20 years old and have gotten a Pap smear every year since I was 16 at the advice of my physician. She does them at my yearly physicals. She begins with a plastic specula which she inserts and you can hear the clicks of the specula opening, where I feel some slight pressure. On her tray she had laid out a brush and curette. When she scrapes my cervix to collect a sample of cervical cells it does hurt. Sometimes I do cry, and spot for a couple days after. But I think it is worth it to have confidence in my reproductive health by having a pap done yearly. Not getting a app every couple years based on the pain is silly. Getting your blood drawn also hurts but it's important to get done every so often.....,
—Guest Marina

horrible !!!!

Friends told me it would hurt ... but my mother told me it wouldnt ...with the confidence of my mothers opinion and her presence in the doctors office... i relaxed.... until ... the nurse said ... what you young girls know about having sex !! (17 yrs of age about to be 18) ... is the man any good yu been havin sex wit !! Is his pants below the waist lik the rest ! I couldnt believe it ..... the level of professionalizm is farrrr gone and .... then the doctor came ... and shove the tool inside (i found out later they were suppose to use a cream/lubricant) ... open it wide.... it feels like wen getting a tooth pulled the pressure applied...and you can litterally hear and feel the tool inside of you... i asked wtf are you doing... an my mother told me to calm down ... not knowing how much it really hurt ... then the spatula scrapping ... feels like constant pinching ... by the way the doctor never spoke or explained what was going to happen.! Worst 1st visit ever its nothing like a penis
—Guest jessindi

First timer

I dd mine for the first time today,I ddn't feel any pain at all..!it was just bit uncomfortable but bearable.Ther's nothing to be scared of.Iam 25 and dnt have a child.
—Guest Sphe

Never again

I was bullied into getting pap tests in order to go on the Pill when I was in my early twenties. I was told that if I was old enough for sex, I was old enough to get a pap test and pelvic exam. It was embarasssing, and I found out later, completely unnecessary for prescribing birth control pill. I resent the violation and blackmail. It would be different if I came in seeking the test, but I did not. I only wanted birth control, and was placed in a position of having to allow anyone who wanted access to my vagina and anus in order to get it. Humiliating.
—Guest Sue

My opinion

This procedure does not hurt at all and it lasts around thirty seconds. Ask the nurse to describe the procedure beforehand and during the procedure if possible. Concentrate on relaxing and widening your vagina. It feels like a smooth metal penis but not like sex (i.e. not up and down, it remains still). It is slightly widened so the sample can be taken. It does not hurt, feels a bit like your cervix is being brushed, I'd say it lasts for about five seconds. Before you know it, the metal penis is out and the smear is over. In England, we only have a smear every three years if the results are normal. This, of course, makes the smear more unknown than, say, a routine dental appointment (every six months). Anyway, I recommend it, those thirty seconds could save your life. Currently in the worst part: waiting for the results but at the moment, only for the first test!
—Guest Amy

It can save your life.

Today I got my first pap smear and it was painful. The doc said that since I was a virgin, he'd try n make it less painful, but that was lie. It hurt the whole 5 or 6 minutes and I bled a little, but after a few hours I was fine. I'm glad I did though, all women who are sexually active, or 21+ should get it.
—Guest Vivi

depends on the person..

Had my first PAP today, and it really hurts me. But this is because I am a virgin, if you are sexually active or have been you will not be so tight.(or nervous) I hate the whole procedure, but I know its a necessary precaution.
—Guest Dani


What's the stab-pinch part about??????????????????
—Guest Sara

bad experience

I had a really bad pap smear,i was a virgin and after she inserted the speculum,i couldn't walk right for two days , it a while for my vagina to get back to normal, I'm scared to have another pap test , i will never again have one not until i become sexual active!
—Guest lily

Sounds Scary, But No Big Deal For Me

In my experience, pap smears aren't that bad. I was so nervous going into my first one, only to find out I had a male doctor! The worst part was definitely the waiting though, as I was psyching myself up to think it would be scary. In actual fact, my doctor was a wonderful man who made me feel very comfortable - I now choose him over my previous fe male doctor. The procedure itself was also quite painless - it was no worse than getting my blood pressure taken! In fact, I experienced even less discomfort. The idea of being on display still scares me, but I think a good doctor makes all the difference. Find someone who you're comfortable with and make sure you do it once you've lost yout virginity to minimise any discomfort.
—Guest Erin

Not as bad as many think

I've never had too much of a problem with the pelvic exam. Even though I'm exposed I feel kind of covered up down there since I can't see what's going on. The breast exam bothers me more since I'm totally nude from the waist up while he examines me.
—Guest Jenny J

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