Bleeding After Pap Smear

Several women experience bleeding after a Pap smear. However, is bleeding or spotting after a Pap smear a reason to panic, especially if the test is done on pregnant women. Let's find out...
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Apr 8, 2018
Spotting or slight bleeding after a pap smear test, is something that is commonly seen in women who have just undergone the test. It is not something to be worried about. During a Pap smear, a curette or cytobrush is used to scrape the cells from the cervix. The scraping disturbs the cervical cells and blood vessels, thereby causing pain and oozing of some blood. Let's have a better look at what happens during a Pap smear.

☛ Why Do Some Bleed after a Pap Smear?

The obstetrician inserts the speculum (metallic or plastic instrument) into the vaginal opening, and uses a spatula to scrape out the cervical cells required for the investigation. This scraping technique involved in the Pap smear procedure, may be uncomfortable or painful for some (although mostly painless). Moreover, sometimes the scraping action agitates the cervix, thereby causing irritation. Slight bleeding or spotting after a Pap smear may also be observed for a day or two, because the cervical cells are quite delicate.
 Besides scraping, presence of cervical polyps can also be the reason for bleeding after a Pap smear. During scraping, the polyp might burst and release blood. Moreover, excess cervical blood is also another reason for bleeding after the pap smear procedure. It so happens that after a pap smear, some women experience a surge of blood gushing to the cervical area and other parts of the reproductive organ. This excess blood seeps out of the body, thereby resulting in bleeding.

Should I get a Pap Smear Done?
►Every woman who is sexually active or above the age of 21, should get a pap smear or Papanicolaou test done. Those who've been sexually active since a younger age should get this test done earlier. 
► Pap smear must be conducted every 2 to 3 years.
►A Pap smear test is used to detect any changes in the cells of the cervix. Abnormalities in the cervical cells may indicate HPV (human papilloma virus) infections or even cervical cancer.
► A Pap smear can help detect cervical cancer in its precancerous stage, thereby making it possible to treat the condition and prevent cervical cancer. Early detection and treatment can help save lives.
► A Pap smear is safe and has no side effects. However, bleeding is something that is commonly observed after a pap smear.

☛ Bleeding After a Pap Smear During Pregnancy

On bleeding after a pap smear, most pregnant women panic as they immediately link the bleeding, to miscarriage and other complications. However, bleeding after a pap smear (even during pregnancy) is not something to be worried out. Bleeding occurs mainly because during pregnancy, every part of the reproductive system becomes extra sensitive. Thus, when the doctor scrapes the cells from the cervix for the test, bleeding is bound to happen. Moreover, the increased blood flow to the cervical regions during this period, also acts as a contributing factor.

Even women who do not experience bleeding during a regular Pap smear test are bound to bleed after a Pap smear during pregnancy. So it's not something to fret about. In fact, most obstetricians consider Pap smears as a mandatory part of prenatal care and have their patients get it done in the first prenatal visit itself. Carrying out a pap smear test during pregnancy is safe and poses no threat to the growing fetus. Pap smear is important during pregnancy because, not only does it check for cervical cancer, but also checks for infections and sexually transmitted diseases that can prove deleterious to the baby.

☛ When is Bleeding after Pap Smear a Reason for Concern?

Although slight bleeding is normal and nothing to be concerned about, if the bleeding increases beyond 2 to 3 days, with the blood flow heavy enough to fill a pad or tampon, then you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Heavy bleeding after pap smear can be indicative of vaginosis or friable cervix, thus, it is very important to go and get it checked by your obstetrician. Moreover, the color of discharge should be brownish and not deep red. Intensified cramping is also not a good sign. So if you are facing bleeding for more than 3 days, heavy blood flow, deep red discharge or intense cramping, you must notify your obstetrician immediately.

Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.