This is a very different post today as today I have been for my first smear test. I saw a while back that Terri who writes Hello Terri Lowe wrote about her experience of having a smear test and I thought I would share my story as well.
Smear tests (for those who don't know) is a method of detecting abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells in the cervix in order to prevent cervical cancer.
When you turn 25 your doctors surgery will write to you inviting you to go for a smear test. My doctors wrote to me just before my birthday in February, the letter got put on my 'to-do' list and somehow I forgot about it until now, which is very naughty of me! I arrived at the ever so boring doctors surgery.....
I knew what to expect when I arrived, strip off from the waist down and the nurse would be inserting something called a speculum (to me this looks like a ducks beak that opened and closed....strange but true) and she would then be using a toothbrush like instrument to get a sample, the NHS put it in a more sensitive way.....
"You will be asked to undress from the waist down and lie on a couch. The doctor or nurse will gently put an instrument, called a speculum, into your vagina. This holds the walls of the vagina open so that the cervix can be seen. A small brush-like instrument will be used to gently collect some cells from the surface of your cervix."
The nurse who would be performing my smear test was called Corrine and she was really lovely, she made me feel really comfortable and I whipped my trousers off while chatting away to her (I would definitely recommend wearing a skirt when you go for a smear, I had just finished work and had skinny jeans on.....the joys of trying to take them off in a small room on a hot day!!!). I climbed onto the bed and she said those dreaded words...... ankles together knees apart.....you do feel very vulnerable but again she was chatting away to me so I felt much better.
This nurse must see soooooooo many lady parts in ALL different shapes and sizes so with that in my head I relaxed until she was just about to start and I had a silly mini panic, 'It's not going to hurt is it, you promise' haha, she reassured me and got to work, she was really gentle with me and told me if I felt any pain to let her know straight away, then before I knew it it was over and done with!!!
I will admit I won't be asking for another one until I am called for one, it can be uncomfortable but (for me) it was in NO WAY painful, the worst part was when she was taking the ducks beak out, I said to her 'Oooo that isn't too nice' she was very apologetic and we had a giggle about it afterwards.
The whole appointment from sitting in her office to getting my trousers back on took less than 5 minutes, 5 minutes of maybe feeling slightly uncomfortable is definitely worth it if it helps prevent cervical cancer.
Everyone should have regular 3 year check ups, and when you are called at 25 make sure you go and don't put it off because you have heard horror stories, we all have to do it (us women have it hard don't we?!) the main thing is to relax, the more you tense up and worry, the harder it will be to take the test, breathe deeply and think of something gorgeous like beauty products or Ryan Gosling!
Have you had a smear test before, any advice for ladies that haven't?
If you would like to know more about cervical cancer you can visit the NHS website