Freephone information line: 1800 45 45 55

Who should have a smear test

  1. Women who should have a smear test
  2. Women with symptoms
  3. Women under 25 years

Women who should have a smear test

Women aged 25 to 60 who have ever been sexually active should have regular smear tests and continue to have regular smear tests after the menopause.

Women who are unsure about the need for a smear test may check the Should I have a smear test? section of the Frequently asked questions or contact CervicalCheck on Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

Women aged over 60 years who have never had a smear test should contact a CervicalCheck registered smeartaker to discuss their cervical screening needs.

Women who are registered with CervicalCheck can check when their next smear test is due. This date will take into account the result and recommendation of their last CervicalCheck smear test or attendance at colposcopy, if any.

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Women with symptoms

A smear test is not a diagnostic test. Screening can help protect women's health through early detection, even if they don’t have any symptoms of the disease. A smear test is not needed for clinical investigation of fibroids, cysts, heavy or painful periods or pain during intercourse. A smear test is not used to detect any changes in the womb, the fallopian tubes or the ovaries. If there are concerns about any of these issues, they should be discussed with a GP or nurse.


A smear test is not a test for cancer.

A smear test does not check for abnormalities in the ovaries, the womb, the vulva or the vagina.

A smear test does not include a test for sexually transmitted infections.

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Women under 25 years

Based on evidence to date, there is no additional public health benefit in starting cervical screening below the age of 25.

In women under the age of 25, minor changes in the cells of the cervix are common but invasive cancer is extremely rare. Population based screening in women under the age of 25 may lead to many women receiving unnecessary treatment for lesions that would never have developed into invasive cancer.

Any woman under the age of 25 who is concerned about her risk of developing cervical cancer or her sexual health should contact her doctor.

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Is cuid den tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála é CervicalCheck
Bosca Oifig Phoist 161, Luimneach
Saorghlao 1800 45 45 55
CervicalCheck is part of the National Cancer Screening Service
PO Box 161 Limerick
Freephone 1800 45 45 55

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Is cuid den Rannóg Sláinte agus Folláine i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte í an tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála. Cuimsíonn sí BreastCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Cíoch, CervicalCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Ceirbheacs, BowelScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Putóige agus Diabetic RetinaScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Reitiní do Dhiaibéitigh.

The National Screening Service is part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Health Service Executive. It encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme and Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.