The Smear Test. #BookYourTest
What is a smear test?
A smear test, or cervical screening that it is now known by. Is a test that detects abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. ( Yes i said vagina, be prepared to hear that a lot in this post ) Detecting these cells and removing them can prevent cervical cancer.
Why have a smear test?
Cervical screening is offered because it can detect abnormal cell changes in the cervix (the lower part of the womb) that could potentially develop into cervical cancer.
Abnormal cells that are picked up during cervical screening often return to normal on their own, so waiting may be recommended.
However, if more significant abnormalities are detected at an early stage, there is the option of having treatment to remove them before they have a chance to become cancerous.
Since the screening programme was introduced in the 1980s, the number of cervical cancer cases has decreased by about 7% each year and it’s estimated that up to 5,000 cases of cervical cancer are prevented each year in the UK because of cervical screening. – NHS
Receiving the letter.
Just after my 20th birthday i received a letter. This letter was from the NHS regarding getting a smear test done. Of course as soon i as i read the words “cervical screening” i started to panic. For those who don’t know me well, will not know that i suffer from quite bad social anxiety. The thought of having to go to the doctors TERRIFIES me.
Booking your appointment
I tried to hide from getting the test done at the start. I received the letter in February and we are now in December. After receiving me second reminder letter, my mum ( don’t judge, i HATE calling the doctors) made an appointment for me. One thing to point out before you make your appointment is knowing when your period is due. Obviously you don’t want to go for a smear test when it’s your time of the month!
Before your appointment
Ok, i won’t lie to you. I got quite nervous before my appointment. I have never had any sort of test like this done before. The thought of having a random nurse looking at your vagina is quite a horrible thought. But hey, every women goes through this and if your planning on having children then it’s something you will have to get used too!
The day of the test
When i arrived at the doctors i sat in the waiting room for a while until the nurse shouted my name. I was walked into the nurses room and took a seat. She went on and asked me a few questions. Including:
- Is this your first smear?
- Do you know how much you weigh?
- Do you know your height?
- Are your periods regular?
- Do you drink or smoke?
The nurse will then tell you a little bit about the test and why it’s important to get it done. She then asked me to go behind the curtains and remove all clothes from the waist down. If you are really nervous about this part, i recommend wearing a skirt or a dress, this way you can still be a little bit covered up!
Ok so once you have removed the bottom half of your clothes, she will then ask you to lie down on the bed. This is where it get’s a little bit awkward.. but trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds. She will ask you to put your feet together and basically spread your knees apart… CRINGE!
She will then apply lube ( sorry i hate that word too ) to the plastic instrument called a speculum. The nurse will then insert it into your vagina, this basically opens up your vagina and the nurse can see straight in. ( the horror, i know! ) She will then insert a small brush type thing that will collect the cells off your cervix. And… your done!
The actual test takes no longer than 1 minute, it’s so quick. I personally didn’t find it sore but everyone is different. I would just say i felt a lot of pressure down there and it was slightly uncomfortable. But honestly, i expected a lot more!
If you are trying to put off getting the test done. PLEASE just do it. I promise it’s not that bad. The test is nothing what i expected to be and overall it was a very quick process. I would encourage any female over the age of 20 to book in for your test.
This could save your life.