Do You Love/dread Getting Pap Smears?

Updated on December 06, 2012
E.D. asks from Olympia, WA
25 answers

Hi folks!

I'm curious, what is getting a pap smear like for you. I mean, we all know they are important and blah, blah, blah, but when hammer hits nail, what's it actually like for you?

Who gives you your pap (MD, ARNP, PA, etc.)?
Same person each time?
What procedure do they use? Like, do you talk with them before your in your gown? After? Do they talk with you during the exam?
How long does it take?
How do you feel during?
How do you feel after?

Me personally? I've had a few doesn't-suck pap smears. When I was pregnant, my midwives gave me paps and they were fantastic. Sure, it wasn't fun, but it also didn't leave me feeling like I was going to crawl out of my skin. I also had one pap preformed by an ARNP that was really all right. I told her before hand that I wanted her to let me know what she was going to do, before she did it, and that I get triggered out by paps. She really listened (mostly, they don't) and took it really gently and checked in the whole time.

But mostly, I'd rather clean the bathroom while getting a cavity filled, than get a pap smear. They've been terrible. Down right awful. I've come out a shaking mess.

So, what about you? If you're willing to share :-)

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

I have a crush on my gyn, so I totally look forward to my pap smears. Veronica, I might even go so far as to say that I LOVE them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I always dread it. I really hate getting naked, private part touching. I am in my gown before my gyno does the exam. He comes in, gets to business and then we have a talk.
I don't know why I dread it so much because after we talk he always makes me feel comfortable and taking care of.
I like my doctor!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I certainly don't enjoy them, but they aren't horrible. My family doctor does them, and because he is a man he has to call his female assistant to come in and stand in the corner. I'd prefer not having the audience, but I understand why she has to be there. I had abnormal cells on my last test, so I have to go for an extra one.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Norfolk on

It's tolerable but I wouldn't call it enjoyable.
Think about what we women go through on an annual basis.

Flat on your back, stir-ups, flimsy paper cover ups, your most private regions more on less on display for relative strangers, the breast exam groping, the speculum (hopefully slightly heated), there might be a slight pinch when obtaining the sample for the Pap smear, the chit chat small talk so you're thinking of other things (it makes me think of old fashioned Victorian wedding night advice 'Close your eyes and think of England'), etc.

Do I even need to go into mammograms?
I don't find them painful (I know some do) but having intimate parts mushed in a device and taking pictures seems just a tad bit kinky.

Now - can you picture men having to go through anything even remotely like this on a regular basis?

Mentioning ob/gyn stir-ups to my husband makes his face turns white.

When are they going to invent a scrot-o-gram where men s dangly bits get crammed into a device and mushed for pictures every year?
(Purely in the name of health - of course!)

Scrotogram - apparently this is not an original idea I've had.
Someone has thought about it in WAY more depth - and it is HILARIOUS!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Not my favorite thing to do with my underwear off and my feet in the air.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

When I go in for a Pap Smear I treat it like paying a bill - just do it and get it over with. My doctor uses the Thin Prep Smear test on me and I feel almost nothing until the actual scraping. She is fairly gentle and tends to make me more at ease by talking about stuff. It is in cases like these that I like my female doctor - she knows and understands what I'm going through from first hand experience, unlike a male doctor. The nurse in the room doesn't bother me so much - when I was younger it kind of freaked me out but generally I've gotten over it. My OBGyn does my paps although my general physician can as well. I just feel that after 2 kids under her direction she knows my body better. Overall, I think the most uncomfortable portion of the visit for me is the breast exam because I just can't look her in the eyes and talk to her during it.

I do have to generally come home and take a shower immediately after all of my pap smears - I just don't feel clean afterwards.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I laughed at your question because is there a woman in theis world that seeks them out?

If they are really an unpleasant experience for you than I would suggest you shop around for a new gynecologist. I really like my gynecologist and feel like I can talk to her about anything (and I have ;-)

The gynecologist I had before her was not the same and we had more of an adversarial relationship. It took my husband coming along once to point that out. As soon as he pointed it out I asked friends for recommendations and switched. It could be a matter of finding the right person.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I pretty much check out of my body on this occasion. My gyn does it (female) and you know, I was more present and engaged in my labor than I am in this ritual.

I suppose I'm more comfortable with it than I used to be because the tools have changed, I think. (Didn't the smear used to be done with bristles on wire? I believe we've left those dark ages....)

Even better if the gyn office has a silly something up on the ceiling for these purposes. We had them on my ship, in medical-- spread your legs, look up and chuckle, and then cringe!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I had to get them every 3 mo for a few years.

No worries.


My office also handed out truffles before ANY procedure. With a little card saying it was a scientifically proven FACT, that nothing can be "icky" with good chocolate.

I miss that office!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i don't freak out about it - but i think that's one plus to having a male doctor - he gets in and out QUICK and is super professional. i think he's more gentle too.

i actually feel it's less awkward with a woman nurse in there. i don't care who sees my stuff.

this last time i had started my period and didn't know it - THAT was about as embarrassing as it gets...he goes in and "OH. oh. nurse would you go get her a pad for when we're done?"


thanks a lot- i was trying to forget that happened...!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

WHO likes them? Yuck! Anything that leaves me exposed to anyone other than my husband is not a comfortable situation.

That being said, my doctor talks the whole time through it about my kids, her kids, blah, blah, blah. I've been going to her since I was 21, so we have built a great relationship. The nurse stands away to the side and doesn't watch. I request the smaller speculum so it's not as painful. Speak up - you can request this too! The only time a pap spear hurt was when the speculum was too big, and a male GYN did the exam because my doctor was out sick. There's something to be said for a woman's gentle touch...

I feel fine afterward, but I usually go home and change underwear and clean up down there really good. haha. Talk to your doctor about your anxiety and seriously ask for the smaller speculum!

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Not a big deal at all in my world. Doesn't hurt and I don't worry about it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I can't get past your title, and I haven't read any responses, so maybe I'm way off base here. But who would "love" getting pap smears!? Tolerate? Maybe. Enjoy seeing the doctor and knowing you're healthy? Ok. But LOVE pap smears? Uh....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Not my favorite thing to do............. however, I do go... but I have NEVER felt like, WOW.. today's the day.... :)
Although, recently, I found a GREAT nurse practitioner and have since gone to her twice. It's her bedside manner that although she is actually in a different nearby city, I go to her instead of where I live...
I will say this nurse practitioner is quick.. explains all that she is doing and actually leaves time for questions I may have..
during the exam, I ALWAYS feel nervous... and after, RELIEF..

Now, if anyone knows a GREAT practitioner in the bay area that does ultra-sounds for fibroids.. DO TELL ????

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I have huge issues with paps as they trigger alot for me. But my doctors know this and are very gentle, nice and talk with me before, during and after. They tell me what they are going to do and aren't rough. I have had alot of bad experience with paps with doctors I don't know so I have learned to just say NO. If I don't like the doctor or feel comfortable, I am not going to let them do it. Had cancer before and had to do alot of procedures and biopsies etc. So I spent every week in the OBGYN office for 2 years--torture. But worth it as I am cancer-free now. I had a dr who was very rough after my baby passed and cold, uncaring and rude. She shoved her hand up and was extremely rough and rude. I complained to the office, the medical board and every where that she had priviledges. She was eventually fired. So thankful because she was a really evil person. She told me after I miscarried that she loved doing abortions on young,stupid "Black" women. I was sooooo offended and I let her know it and everyone else know it. She was racist and I am completely offended by her comments and actions. So as for your question---it was horrible with her but I never saw her again and she was fired shortly after.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I love it when its over--NOT AGAIN TIL NEXT YEAR! I could do better if there nurse was not in there with the male doctor. Its just toooooo many folk seeing me prone!

I understand the reason, but I would rather sign a note saying I won't sue!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I can say the best ones were when I was pregnant. For some reason, they didn't hurt as much. Probably because I got checked out so frequently, it didn't matter..

My yearly one always gets me nervous. I always have had the same Dr. do it-OBGYN. She's really good, and it is quick and usually painless( unless I'm all nervous and just can't relax my body enough). She talks throughout the appt. medical stuff before, and small talk during..I do find myself gripping the sides of the chair , though. For some reason that helps.

For me, if I don't get one, I feel worse. So, it's just better to get it over with..I just hate the preparation for it..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No one loves to get a pap smear. Are you serious?

Some doctors have better techniques at giving them, but I have always found them uncomfortable. Painful - no, just uncomfortable. Luckily my gyne doctor does them quickly. And she chats me up while she's doing it, as if that is going to take my mind off the fact that she's fiddling around in my yahoo.

I have never had any pain afterwards. A little spotting sometimes, but that lasts less than an hour or so after.



answers from Topeka on

I get them yearly I don't get them done by the same Dr. it's my PCP,mdwife or gyno the don'y hurt,don't dread getting them,feel fine afterwards,we talk before,during and after



answers from Green Bay on

Honestly, I would rather get a pap than go to the dentist! I don't LIKE them, but I haven't ever had an experience that lead me to HATE them. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in high school so I have a LONG history of GYN appts even though I am only 31, and all of my drs have been good. I won't see a doctor I don't like more than once!! :-)

I see my primary care physician for my paps - used to see OBGYN, but haven't felt the need to pay extra for that appt to see a specialist (my insurance has changed as well, so PCP does a fine job!) I have had a variety of different formats too.



answers from Eugene on

Never been a big deal for me. Not like I look forward to it by any means, but they don't hurt or anything. Plus I have a really great nurse/midwife who always listens and takes time to chat about my kids, etc. Honestly, the worst part is stepping on the scale and seeing the scary number in front of me! :)



answers from Boston on

They don't faze me at all. When I was in my pregnancy years, my OB did them so I knew her well and she was always chatty and breezy. I have a tilted uterus so whoever does it has to put the speculum in upside-down and even with that it can be a bit difficult to get the sample so it's usually pretty uncomfortable for a moment but then it's over. Now that I'm done with kids my regular doctor did it and it was much tougher because she has a smaller variety of speculum sizes and whatever she had, plus the upside-down thing and tilted uterus, wasn't working well. She was able to get what she needed but suggested that the OB's office might be a better place to get that done in the future. I really don't want to needlessly visit another doctor just for that so I'll have to figure out what to do the next time one is needed. They're never my idea of a good time, but I haven't had any awful experiences either.


answers from Minneapolis on

I've only ever had one pap smear which was when I was 17. Then each year since my dr keeps giving new reasons why I don't need one (They switched it from every year to every two years and then they switched the age on it so that you don't need one until you are 21 or something like that... I just turned 21, so I guess I'm getting one this year).

The one I had, really was't that bad. My best friend goes through the free clinic and has to get them every year. She dreads them! Hates them! She'll be complaining and I'll just be sitting there wondering why.

I love my dr though. She has always been very gentle... Or maybe I'm just weird? When I was pregnant and she had to check my dilation and sweep my membranes and what not she warned me that it might be "uncomfortable" (BTW, why do they just not say - Hey, this might hurt)... Didn't feel a thing. She said I was the first person that didn't even flinch during that "procedure". So ya, I'm probably just weird and an unreliable source :)


answers from Williamsport on

Hate them but it is what it is. Once I had to take my oldest daughter with me at last minute when a sitter flaked (she was about 4) so she was in the room the whole time. Later at a FAMILY DINNER with grandparents, she said out loud, "Hey Mom, you know that doctor that looked at your vagina? She was really nice!"



answers from Detroit on

I DREAD pap smears:( As a matter of fact, my next pap is this coming Monday...thanks for reminding me:) I have been seeing the same ob/gyn for the past 8 years. She is wonderful and knows that I am extremely fidgety when it comes to getting this done. She uses a Peterson instrument when doing my pap. (Sorry, I forget what the thing is called that does the pap, I just woke up). It's a smaller instrument than the one regularly used for most women. My ob knows how I am, so I get special treatment.

I am the BIGGEST CHICKEN when it comes to paps. I bet there are very few women like me. The funny thing is I have given birth to three kids,, you'd think a pap would be no big deal for, right? Wrong!:) Here's how it goes down for me every year: My doctor has to call in two nurses or medical assistants when doing my pap. The one nurse holds me down while the other one does breathing exercises with me (just like when you're in labor). I have a hard time relaxing my butt muscles to allow the instrument to go in (sorry, I know, too much info, but maybe this post will help someone else out there who refuses to get paps, I can only hope!:)

Although it's tough for me, I have been getting my yearly paps for 25 years--and I haven't missed a year. I am of the mindset that whatever it takes to keep myself healthy, I will do. I've also had several root canals, cavities, and other cosmetic procedures done. I will do anything be pain free and healthy. I just put my big girl pants on and do it.

After my pap, I drive to McDonald's to order a coke. I take a Tylenol, guzzle it down with the coke to relieve any pain. It's my treat for getting through my pap.

You are not alone when it comes to dreading this procedure:)


For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions