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Can STD testing be done during period ?

Yes, STD testing during periods has no effect on the type of result or its accuracy. There are different types of testing available in which not necessarily has to take a swab from the vagina. Thus, we can say that the STD testing has nothing to do with  Let’s dive into the details of what can be done to get tested for STD during period.

std-testing-during-periods

STD testing during period.

 

Why this STD and menstruation period creates panic? 

On an average, the menstrual cycle lasts for somewhere between 2 to 7 days. It is widely believed that the accuracy of the STD test is least during periods(which is false). Panic situation builds up when the symptoms of the STDs are visible on the body during menstruation. Women panic, because of the notion that there is an inaccuracy in the test result done during period. Further, the detection of STD is critical in starting the treatment as untreated STD could lead to serious consequences

As it is essential to treat the STD as soon as possible and menstruation is falsely seen as a hurdle in detecting the STD.

Why STD testing during period doesn’t affect the test accuracy?

First of all to lets be clear on the thing that you don’t have to take a vaginal swab for testing every type of STD. The table below indicates the type of testing available for different types of STDs.

Sr. No Type of STD Type of STD test STD window Period, How soon get tested?
1 Chlamydia Swab of genital area or urine sample 24 hrs -5 days
2 Gonorrhea Swab of genital area or urine sample 2-6 days
3 Syphilis Blood test, or sample taken from a sore. 3-6 weeks
4 Hepatitis B Blood test (detecting antibodies) 6 weeks
5 Hepatitis C Blood test (detecting antibodies) 8-9 weeks
6 Herpes No Symptoms: Blood test (drawn from arm or a fingerstick)

Symptoms: Swab of affected area; if at first negative for herpes, follow later with blood test to make sure.

4-6 weeks
7 HIV Blood test or swab from inside of mouth 1-3 months
8 HPV If Pap test result is abnormal, HPV DNA test and a biopsy may be done 2 weeks – 8 months
9 Trichomoniasis Swab of infected area, physical exam or sample of discharge. 5 -28 days

 

As you can observe from the table above, to test almost every type of STD (barring HPV), you have the option of getting it tested using Urine or Blood sample. Thus, women uncomfortable of taking a swab for testing during period can opt for either Blood or urine test.(refer table above)

 

Urine testing requires a urine sample to be collected in a test tube, while the blood test requires the sample of blood taken from the arm. Hence, no contact of the menstrual blood is required to get tested for STD.

 

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What about testing HPV using PAP smear test which requires swab from vagina or cervix?

PAP test may require a sample to be taken from the vagina, as the pH value of the vagina increases during periods, it may affect the test result. Thus, patient may be advised to reschedule the test, although some doctors will go ahead with a Pap smear if a patient’s flow is very light. Also, keep in mind that you also have the option of HPV DNA testing which looks out for DNA of the virus thus remains unaffected by menstrual blood.This newly approved HPV DNA test could replace the current PAP smear test.

 

Conclusion

  1. You can get tested for STD during periods and it won’t affect its accuracy. You won’t necessarily need to take a swab of vagina or cervix as there are various alternatives available for testing of different STDs (urine or blood test).
  2. Even for testing for HPV, you have the option of HPV DNA test which is independent of the type of blood sample.
  3. As it is essential to get diagnosed and begin treatment to prevent STD from damaging further it is highly recommended to get tested for STD near you even during the period.

The only thing to do, when you observe symptoms of STD during periods is to immediately get tested.


Resources

https://www.verywellhealth.com/window-period-3132659

https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm