Medical Q&As

Smear test - bleeding?

I am 25 years old and had cryotherapy carried out at the end of January due to daily bleeding being caused by cervical erosion. I had three clear smear tests between 1995 and 2000. It is now almost two years since my last one, but if I have a smear test is it likely that the bleeding could be triggered again?

When a smear test is being performed the doctor rotates a special spatula around the cervical os, which is the technical name for the opening into the cervix. This action removes a thin layer of cells, which is then applied to a glass slide for later analysis under a microscope. The taking of the sample can have a slightly abrasive effect on the tissues. Normally this does not result in bleeding. However, if a lesion such as an erosion were present, the spatula could draw some blood from the erosion as it is rotated around the os. This blood would then render the sample unsuitable for analysis because the blood cells could obscure any abnormal cells that might be present from the cervical sample. Therefore if the erosion has recurred it would be normal practice for the smear test to be deferred until that lesion had been treated. Presumably the erosion that was treated back in January was treated successfully and is no longer present. In that case it should be possible for you to undergo the smear test as planned without running the risk of the test triggering further bleeding. In other words, if there are no lesions on the cervix you shouldn’t bleed while having a smear test.