Let’s Talk About Smear Tests

The 2 words that make every woman squirm; ‘smear test’.

Growing up, I dreaded the day I hit 25 because I knew it would mean having a cervical cancer screening or a smear test. You hear so much negativity about how it’s painful or uncomfortable and the amount of woman getting them is at an all time low and to be honest I can’t blame them. The thought of laying on a bed, naked from the waist down having a stranger investigate you is a daunting experience and one that I wanted to put off forever.

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In the Uk, you receive a letter inviting you for a screening and once you have had it done, you don’t have to re-do it for another 3 years. I received my letters; yes I had received 2 before I did it; last summer and immediately folded them back up and hid them. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. Fast forward to last Monday and I was on the phone to my GP’s booking an appointment. I don’t know what came over me but I finally plucked up the courage to have it done in the week and I wanted to share my experience because I genuinely do believe there needs to be a bigger conversation about it because they can literally save lives and really aren’t as bad as everyone thinks.

So flashback to Wednesday, I arrived at the doctors and followed the nurse down the corridor into the room. There it all was; the form of questions, the bed, the curtain and the swab. Trust me, if I could have left at that moment I would have. The nurse was so lovely, she sat me down and went through a few questions about my last period and when I received my letter etc. She then explained what was going to happen and took me through the curtain so I could get unchanged and in place.

Sitting with your ankles together and your knees apart is never a good look for anyone but believe me when I say nurses do this every day and they genuinely don’t care what it looks like, they are just there to do their job. I’ll be honest, I am the biggest wuss and have no pain tolerance at all so I was expecting the worst. I’d be lying if I said you couldn’t feel anything but it was about a 1.5/10 and it was more discomfort than pain as you could feel the bristles of the swab but that was it. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was over.

The results usually get sent to your home about 2 weeks later. It’s really that easy. I think I was in the room for about 5/10 minutes and most of that time was spent not being prodded; so please, if you haven’t and are of the right age go and get your smear test done. I felt so proud after and it is there to potentially save your life and stop anything cell changes becoming too nasty.

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If I can do it, then you definitely can.

– Hannah X

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