Smear test

    • Brief

    • A smear test uses a sample of the thick liquid (mucus) a woman’s cervix. This smear test determines possible diseases, such as cervical cancer or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HPV. The test is important to catch diseases early, which greatly improves the chances of successful treatment.

      A healthcare provider performs the smear test. The doctor first opens the vagina a little with a metal instrument. This is called a speculum. The doctor moves the speculum in the vagina and opens it a little. The walls of the vagina are now slightly apart. The cervix can be seen more easily now. The doctor then inserts a small brush (swab) into the vagina as far as the cervix and takes some mucus.

      A smear test takes around 10 minutes. It is not painful. You may lose a little blood. The healthcare provider sends the smear test to a laboratory for testing. You can get the result in about two weeks time.

    • When should I have a smear test?

    • It is best to have a smear test from the age of 25 years if you have already had sex (sexual intercourse). After the first smear test, you can then have one every three years.

      Do not have a smear test during your menstrual period. Do not have a smear test if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

    • What does a smear test cost?

    • A healthcare provider performs a smear test. You may have to pay for the visit (usually between 3,500 and 8,000 naira). The healthcare provider will send the smear to a laboratory for testing.