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How to Relax When You’re Getting a Pap Smear

Gynecological exams aren’t enjoyable, but they’re less painful if you know how to relax during a pap smear. Here are 5 tips for relaxing when you’re at the gynecologist.

“Women should start seeing their gynecologist at least once every year when they turn 18 years old, or when they start being sexually active,” write the folks at for College Women, in The First Gynecological Exam. “You may need to have checkups even more often if you have, plans to become pregnant, a STD or a partner with an STD, a history of sexual health problems, a mother or sister who developed breast cancer before menopause, a history of abnormal Pap test results, or a breast lump. Additionally, women and girls of any age need to visit their gynecologist if they notice irregularities in their breasts, genitalia, menstrual cycles, or if they become pregnant.”

If you’ve never had a gynecological exam before, then you need to find out what happens during a pap smear. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to relax.

Do you often get abnormal gynecological exam results? Reading books like Abnormal Pap Smears: What Every Woman Needs to Know (Revised & Updated) will help.

And, here are several tips for relaxing when you’re getting a gynecological exam…

5 Tips for Relaxing During a Pap Smear

I’m more comfortable with female gynecologists, but have had paps from male gynies. One of the best ways to relax when you’re getting a pap is to ask for a female doctor. If that’s not possible, then ask for a female nurse to be in the examination room with you.

Remember that you’re not the first, and you won’t be the last

Do you feel out of control and awkward when you’re getting a pap? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve been getting them for 20 years, and still can’t relax. I feel especially awkward when I forget to shave my legs or haven’t showered within the past couple of hours! But I keep telling myself I’m not the pap smear my gynecologist has ever done. And, my va-jay-jay is no worse or better than anybody else’s…my doctor has seen it all.

Don’t talk during the pap smear

I used to try to make conversation with my gynecologist during the exam, because I thought it’d get my mind off her instruments poking into my private parts. But she kept stopping what she was doing to respond to my questions or comments, leaving me hanging wide open! I’ve learned to stop talking. No words are necessary.

If you’re getting a pap smear because you’re having problems with your menstrual cycle, read 8 Natural Ways to Regulate Your Period – The Crimson Tide.

Keep your eyes closed

When your eyes are open, you’re not relaxed. Your eye movements keep you alert and focused on what’s happening in the room and in your body. Instead of looking at the posters of a woman’s uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes — or trying to see what your gynecologist is doing — keep your gently closed and your face soft during the pap smear.

Focus on your breathing

One of the best ways to relax during a pap smear is to focus on the in and out of your breathing.

How to Relax When You’re Getting a Pap Smear

How to Relax When You’re Getting a Pap Smear

Take deep breaths in – in fact, stop and take a deep breath right now! See how good it feels? Doesn’t it relax you, make you feel calmer and less stressed? When you’re getting a massage focus on breathing in and out. Notice the rhythm of your breath, what it sounds like, what it feels like to fill your lungs with air.

Repeat a mantra, affirmation, or prayer

When I go to the gynecologist, I repeat the words “freedom” and “forgiveness” to myself, over and over. I’m not trying to forgive her or be free from her — those are just my favorite words, and they calm me down. When I repeat my mantra during a gynecological exam, I’m distracted from thinking (and thinking is what makes us feel awkward and uncomfortable!).

This tip for relaxing during a gynecological exam requires a bit of advance preparation. That is, you should set your mantra or affirmation before the visit – and avoid the stress of having to think one up while you’re getting a pap smear!

If you can get the results of your pap smear online, you may find Getting Blood Test Results Online – How Not to Panic helpful.

How about you – do you fear the gynecologist? Comments and relaxation tips welcome below…

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9 thoughts on “How to Relax When You’re Getting a Pap Smear”

  1. Dear Stacie,

    Have you met the gynecologist who is doing your pap smear? One way to relax during a gynecological exam is to know the doctor. Get a female gynecologist, and tell her that you’re scared and tense. She will be able to help you relax – if she’s a good doctor.

    Also, it might help to figure out what you’re scared of. What makes you feel so anxious?

  2. Hello I am 30 Years Old and I have never had a pap smear in my life before and when the time comes I get really anxious and nervous and I start to cry so can anyone please help me to over come my fear of getting a pap smear please thanks.

  3. Dear Lauren,

    Today is your pap smear! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope you are able to relax during the exam. I also hope you have a female gynecologist, because sometimes men make those exams more stressful.

    Let me know how it goes.


  4. I am 19 and never had a pap smear for two reasons:
    1) i’m a very conservative girl who is still a virgin because i’m waiting for marriage (so nobody but family who changed my diaper have seen me)
    2) the last person to ever be down there was a man who sexually assaulted me by shoving his hand “down there” when I was 15.
    I am freaking out because I have to see a gyn asap because i can’t even stand up straight due to cervix pain.
    Even now as i’m posting this, i’m trying to hold back tears of anxiety and fear. Please pray for me if you see this…i’m supposed to go in May 1st and all I feel is fear about going in.
    Thank you.

  5. Thanks for sharing how feel about getting a pap smear! It is awful, I hate it too. Most women feel the same way…except for Rosie who sees it the same way as getting her teeth checked 🙂

  6. Hey I’m 25yrs old an have had two kids an is currently 19wks pregnant an pap smears till scare me…But up until like 2yrs ago I had a wonderful great doctor who transfered to a new job 🙁 but she knew that I was very afraid of having a pap smear done,so before she’d get started she’d do the pap smear first before like my blood pressure an whatever else needed to be done,so it kind of kill my anxiety down an she would talk me through the steps. Also I learned a weird trick from a teacher I had while taking up MA.She would say if ur scared while getting a pap smear twinkle your toes an hold something in your hand…so to this day I hold one of those bendable hair clips in my hands an put the negative vibes there an breath in an out repeating negative vibes go away I’m not afraid.. sorry I wrote so much

  7. I’ve had so many pap smears, I don’t fear any gynecologist! It’s just like getting my teeth checked now. You just get used to it after awhile.