I recently got a pap, which is a routine cervical cancer screening test.
When I walked into the exam room, I saw all the tools spread out and took a photo because I’m always a sexologist and always seeing opportunities for sex education, even when standing bottom-half-naked at the doctor’s office! This a list of the tools seen on the cart here, used to perform a pap test (in this pic, from right to left):
This is the “duck lips” instrument that keeps the vaginal walls open so the medical provider can have better access to the cervix, which sits at the end of the vagina.
This is one of the tools used to collect cervical cells for examination. The flat end, like a kitchen spatula, is used to scrape, in this case, cells off the outer cervix.
Basically like an extra large Q-Tip, these are used to blot away excess blood or mucus from the cervix and vagina so the blood/mucus cells don’t contaminate the sample.
Another cell collection tool, this is a long stick with a round bristle brush at the end rotated in the opening of the cervix.
Liquid-Based Crytology Container
The cells collected from the cervical spatula and cytobrush are deposited into a small bottle of preservative liquids until it gets to the lab to be examined under a microscope. The cells used to be smeared across a glass slide, hence the term “pap smear”, but the liquid container method is more modern and offers more accurate results.
See that big pile of lube at the bottom left? That helps the speculum be inserted into the vagina with ease.
Examination Table with Stirrups
Laying down with feet in holders (not pictured) off the bottom of the table, this keeps the legs open, vagina relaxed, and the genitals at eye-level for the seated medical provider as they do the screening.
I invite you to comment and engage in this ever-growing digital sex ed library and community! I know it doesn't quite have the instant gratification of posting a comment on Facebook or Instagram, but it also doesn't have the corporate anti-sex censorship, so comment away! Just be kind.
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All content © Dr. Jill McDevitt, 2019. Permission to print and download for personal use only. Materials may not be shared on social media or elsewhere, and may not be used commercially.