Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Pap Smear

The Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It has been shown to decrease the morbidity and mortality from this disease – which is more common in younger women than older ones – and is therefore highly recommended.

A Pap smear begins with a speculum examination, which allows the doctor to see the opening of the cervix. A few cells are then scraped off the cervix and placed on a glass slide to be examined in the laboratory. This scraping is generally done with a wooden spatula, which does not enter the cervix. The scraping may cause mild bleeding. However, since this bleeding is caused by a confirmed trauma to the cervix, most authorities agree that a Pap smear does not render a woman niddah.

Occasionally, a cotton applicator (Q-tip) or small brush is inserted a little way into the mouth of the cervix to sample cells from the endocervix, or cervical lining. This does not constitute sufficient opening of the cervix to render the woman niddah, even according to the most stringent definition.

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All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

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