What Is An Anal Pap?The anal pap is a test similar to the pap test in women. A sample of cells is collected from the anus and rectum. They are then examined under a microscope to identify any structural changes in the cells. These changes can be precursors to anal cancer, a type of cancer on the rise in gay and bisexual men.
Before The ProcedureWhile there is no medicinal prep for an anal pap, there are a few things you should and shouldn't do before the pap to prepare for the simple procedure.
24 Hours Before The Anal Pap
- Bathe or shower before heading to the doctor, making sure to gently wash your rectal and perineal areas with mild soap and warm water.
- Do not have anal receptive intercourse (sex).
- Do not put any creams, soaps, lubricants, or medications into your anus.
- Do not insert sex toys or other objects into your anus.
- Do not douche or take enemas.
The Anal Pap ProcedureThe anal pap screening is a simple, painless, and quick procedure that takes little more than five minutes.
- With you in a position that offers access to your rectal area, the physician inserts a Dacron swab into the anus.
- The doctor gently spins the swab, contacting the inner mucousal surfaces of the anal canal.
- The swab, having collected thousands of mucousal cells when swabbing the walls of the anal canal, is removed.
- The Dacron swab is placed in a special fixative solution contained in a special laboratory transport vial.
- The vial containing the swab is sent to the lab where the collected cells will be examined under a microscope.
After The ProcedureThere is very little to do after the anal pap.
- While the procedure is quick and for most painless, some people may experience some mild discomfort.
- For people with pre-existing anal canal lesions, warts, or hemorrhoids, there may be a little bleeding afterward.
- Those people may also notice blood smears on the tissue or in there stool after their first bowel movement.
- Depending on the facility where you have your anal pap, the results should be in your doctor's hands no later than two weeks after the procedure.
- If bleeding persists after the first bowel movement, notify your doctor.
- Keep in mind that anal cancer can't be diagnosed with anal paps. The anal pap is just a quick screening that identifies those patients that should be more closely assessed for the signs of anal cancer.