Lubrication of the vaginal introitus and speculum does not affect Papanicolaou smears

Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Nov;100(5 Pt 1):887-8. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(02)02168-3.


Objective: To test the hypothesis that lubrication of the vaginal introitus and external speculum does not adversely affect Papanicolaou interpretation.

Method: One hundred eighty-two patients presenting for Papanicolaou smears as part of their visit were randomly assigned to have either only warm water or a water soluble lubricant to assist speculum insertion. Cytotechnicians and pathologists were blind to the cohort from which smears were obtained.

Results: Two unsatisfactory smears were found among 93 patients with the lubricant and two were found among 89 using only warm water. No significant difference was found using the t test for continuous variables and chi(2) for categoric variables.

Conclusion: Use of a water soluble lubricant on the vaginal introitus and external speculum facilitates examination with no adverse effect on Papanicolaou smear interpretation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lubrication*
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Surgical Instruments*
  • Vagina*
  • Vaginal Smears*