How It Is Done
In a direct smear, a sample of body
fluid is taken from the affected area. In adults, these areas may include the
urethra, cervix, rectum, or eye.
- To collect a sample from the urethra or
rectum, your health professional will insert a swab into the opening of your
urethra or rectum to collect a sample.
- To collect a sample from the
cervix, you will be asked to take off your clothes below the waist and drape a
paper or cloth covering around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an
examination table with your feet raised and supported by stirrups. This allows
your health professional to examine your vagina and genital area. Your health
professional will insert an instrument with curved sides (speculum ) into your
vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so the inside of
the vagina and the cervix can be examined. Samples are collected from the
cervix with a swab or small brush.
- To collect a sample from your
eye, your health professional will gently brush the insides of your lower and
upper eyelids with a swab.
If a urine sample is collected for
nucleic acid amplification testing (such as PCR or LCR testing), do not urinate
for 2 hours before the test. Do not wipe the genital area clean before
urinating. Collect the first part of your urine stream, immediately as you
There are home test kits you can use to collect a swab or urine sample and bring it to the lab for testing.
How It Feels
Collecting a sample of fluid from the
urethra, anus, or rectum may cause mild discomfort or pain.
Collecting a sample from the cervix may cause mild discomfort. Most women
find that the procedure feels similar to a Pap test or pelvic examination. Some
women feel slight cramping while the speculum is inside the vagina.
Collecting a sample from the eye is usually painless unless the eyelids
have sores on them.
Collecting a urine sample does not normally
cause any discomfort.