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Health Tip: Before a Pap Smear

Here's what to avoid before the test

(HealthDay News) -- A pap smear is used to detect changes in the cells of a woman's cervix that could indicate cancer. The test is usually recommended for all women age 21 and older, and women younger than 21 if they have been sexually active for three or more years.

Certain things can lead to inaccurate results of a pap smear. Here's a list of activities to avoid in the 48 hours before your test, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Vaginal deodorant sprays or powders.
  • Douching.
  • Tampons.
  • Any vaginal creams, suppositories or medications.
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