Johannesburg gynaecologist Dr Heidra Dahms says that planning ahead can help you get the most from your visit.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Arrange an appointment any time after 10 days from the start of your last period. There’s no point having a Pap smear done when you’re menstruating as certain cells in the flow can make the results inaccurate, and you’ll most likely have to have it done again.
DON’T WASH LIKE MAD
In the two to three hours before your appointment, don’t have a bath specifically to clean your genitals. The reason? Your gynae will need to see if you have any type of discharge, and then determine whether it’s a problem. Also, having sex on the night before or morning of your smear won’t affect the results so don’t feel you have to abstain on purpose.
NOTE THE DAYS OF YOUR LAST MENSTRUAL CYCLE
Knowing the start and end date of your most recent period will help your doctor evaluate your reproductive health. Make a note of which contraceptive you are on.
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CALL BEFORE YOU GO
The gynae may be running late so call ahead to save yourself the irritation of rushing to your appointment only to sit in the waiting room for half an hour.
YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT
Many doctors won’t allow you to book your appointment a year in advance. Instead, make a note to see your gynae at the same time every year, for example, in the month of your birthday. Then call eight weeks beforehand to make the appointment.