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Questions About Pap tests

Published: August 08, 2012
Dear Questions About Pap tests,

Dear fx, I turned 18 about 6 months ago, I've never been sexually active. I am a lesbian and I've had a girlfriend for 3 years, but she is big on this '5 year' thing. My mother asked about wether or not I've been too a pap smear yet... But I'm still a virgin in every way, shape and form... I always thought that I wouldn't need one, because I holding have a reason too go. A few other questions I have, are, does it hurt? Since I've never even had a finger up there? I heard that they put a beak thing in, and like, strech your vagina too shit. What would happen too my hymen? Would it beak? Would I loose my virginity too a duck beak thing? Please help..


Dear Questions About Pap tests,

Here is some information on Pap Tests:

  • Pap tests (also known as “Pap smears”) are a type of cervical cancer screening. They are used to detect any pre-cancerous cell changes of the cervix
  • It is generally recommended that women start getting routine Pap tests at 21 years of age. However, you should check with your gynecologist or adolescent medicine specialist to find out the exact recommendation for you. If you are a virgin you probably do not need a Pap test. However, some women may need them earlier if they have special risks such as immune problems, HIV disease, early sexual activity, or pregnancy.
  • The “duck beak” thing you referred to is called a speculum. The speculum is inserted into the vagina in order to separate the walls of the vagina so the cervix can be seen by the doctor. Once the speculum has been inserted the doctor will use a spatula or tiny brush to collect cells from the cervix (these cells will then be sent to the lab for testing).
  • A Pap test should not hurt. Women who have any anxiety or concern about a Pap test are generally reacting more to the idea of what is happening rather than because there is actual pain or difficulty with this procedure. Most women feel nothing, and a few might only feel some minor cramping that won’t last more than a minute. If you experience pain, tell your doctor immediately so he/she can stop the test and find out what is going on. While it doesn’t sound like this applies to you. FX will say that a procedure such as a Pap test can be difficult for young women who have been sexually abused or raped. If you have any sexual abuse history, we recommend you discuss this with your doctor before any kind of pelvic exams or Pap tests.
  • Having a Pap smear does not cause a person to lose their virginity. For more information on virginity, read What is Virginity? by Planned Parenthood.
  • It is possible the tools used to collect the cervical cells may stretch or tear the hymen (the thin tissue covering the vaginal opening). However, this does not mean you lost your virginity. There are several ways a girl’s hymen can break that have nothing to with sex or losing one’s virginity – things like using a tampon or even strenuous activities such as bike riding, riding a horse, stretching or dancing can cause the hymen to tear. Hymens can even break without a young women knowing that it happened.  

 

For information on Pap tests, speak to your doctor. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

You can also get more detailed information on Planned Parenthood’s webpage Pap Tests & HPV Tests, Center for Young Women’s Health webpage on Abnormal Pap Tests, womenshealth.gov Pap test fact sheet, and Mayo Clinics answer to Do virgins need Pap smears? Does a Pap smear cause you to lose your virginity?

Since you are in a same-sex relationship, you might consider reading TeenHealthFX’s hot topic on Safer Sex Considerations for Young Women in Same-Sex Relationships.

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