Pap Test | Women's Health | Loyola Medicine

Pap Test

What Is a Pap Test?

A procedure in which a small brush is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Pap test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is also called a Pap smear and a Papanicolaou test. 

What to Expect with a Pap Test

A Pap test often is done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of HPV. A combined Pap-HPV test is more likely to find abnormal cells or cervical cancer than a Pap test alone is.

Side Effects of Pap Tests

The Pap test may cause a small amount of bleeding or spotting.

Let your doctor know if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Bleeding, more than spotting
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Fever or chills
  • Severe abdominal pain