What Causes Bleeding After a Pap Smear?

According to MedicineNet, vaginal bleeding occurs after a tiny brush used during a Pap smear scratches the cervix's fragile lining. The scratching and subsequent bleeding are no cause for worry. This sort of bleeding requires no intervention to stop. If the bleeding stems from the Pap test, it is light and manifests as small spots, most of the time.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, normal post-Pap smear bleeding occurs for one to two days. However, if the post-Pap smear bleeding is heavy or persists, a patient should see a doctor, Cancer.net recommends.

Medicine.net advises that Pap smears that are stained with blood be tested in a pathology lab. Testing of samples with blood helps reveal if there was too much bleeding, which might make it difficult to give a definitive diagnosis based on Pap test results. It takes two to eight weeks for the lab results to come up, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

If a pathologist's report implies too much bleeding, a doctor may recommend that a patient reschedule a Pap test, as Medicine.net states. However, many practitioners do not direct another Pap smear if a patient is in later days of menstruation, when bleeding is least expected. Thus, it is the amount and not a mere presence of blood in a Pap test that can raise a medical concern.