Smear Tests are Important. Get it booked!

There’s no point in asking who likes smear tests? That’s silly. Nobody likes Smear tests. It’s more of a matter that needs to be done!

I went for my smear test on a Saturday at 8am. Yes. That’s right. I had to go through that experience on a Saturday morning. But in all honesty it was good. I get a lot of anxiety, and to get it over and done with in the morning was the best thing for me.

I was 3 years too late for my smear, so it’s been 8 years since I last went. Why? Because I hate getting it done. Because my health is fine do I need to do this? Because it’s quite a uncomfortable procedure, not to mention embarrassing.

I have to thank the NHS for reminding me every 3 months that I need to book myself in, the letters and the constant text message even though ignored most of the time, made me book myself in (3 years later- but better late than never)

But I need to tell all my women followers, don’t delay it. Get it done!

Whilst writing up on this I decided to see what else has been written about smear tests, and the worse thing is the people that have wrote about it are the ones that are going through complications. I’m still waiting for my results, and hopefully this doesn’t turn into a ‘I was too late- but make sure you go for your smear’ type blog.

For me the smear is exceptionally daunting because I suffer from Vaginismus. What should be a 5 min procedure ended up taking 35 minutes. But we got there, tears and all. I struggled the rest of the day… But the good thing is providing all is well, I now have 5 more years before I get called again, and the relief that it is done, It’s the best thing ever. (Just praying now it’s all ok- no news is good news)

So…. Why Smear?…

Alot of people avoid the Smear test because they think that the smear is to check whether you have Cancer, and their own general health is well…… Nope! A Smear test is actually a test to prevent cancer. So if anything is found, it can be monitered and treated before it actually turns more severe. The way this is done is by checking for abnormal cells in the cervix, which if left untreated could turn into cancer. The testing also checks for viruses- HPV (human papillomvirus). HPV has no symptoms, so you may not evan know you have it, therefore the Smear test is so important because most cervical cancers are caused by infections with certain types of HPV.

Cervical Cancer Symptoms

If you suffer from any of the following, do NOT wait for your cervical screening appointment- book in a GP as soon as possible

  • Unusual Vaginal Discharge
  • Bleeding in between Periods
  • Bleeding before or after Sex
  • Bleeding after Menopause

Booking in Your Screening

Book you appointment in as soon as you get your letter. It has to be done! and remember, once its done, youll be at peace for 5 years. (the relief is sensational)

  • Try and book your appointment when you are not on your period, and try to avoid it 3 days before or after.
  • Avoid using any vaginal medication 2 days before, as this can also affect the results.
  • Most nurses who take the screening are women, but do check whilst booking if you do have a preference.
  • You will be asked if you would like someone else in the room, if you do feel uncomfortable, do request this, or take someone you know with you if it helps.
  • If like me you know you have a condition, make that clear before the appointment so that they book you in for a longer time (I didnt do this and my appointment took 35 mins, which delayed 4 people after me).
  • Ask as many questions as you would like, it will ease the process, and make things abit more comfortable for you.

The Appointment

The process should take no more than 5 minutes however it does vary between people and conditions.

  • You will need to undress from waist down, and lie on a bed.
  • Legs will need to be bent and knees kept apart. (if needed you may be asked to change position.
  • A speculum (tube shaped tool) will be placed gently into your vagina, and then the speculum will be opened whilst inside.
  • Using a small brush , a small sample of cells will be taken.
  • The speculum will be removed and you will be free to get changed.
  • If at any point you are uncomfortable, you can ask the nurse to stop.

You may experience some spotting, and discomfort during the day after the screening. this is normal and should go away after a couple of hours. If it takes longer, make sure you book yourself in with a GP

Results

Results usually come in by 2 weeks via a letter. As mentioned before, if it does take longer keep in mind ‘No news is Good news’.

Normal Results- you will be called in after 3/5 years.

Unclear Results- You will be called in, in 3 months. This is not a cause for concern. Just a re-test to make sure results are still the same.

Abnormal Results- You will be asked to undergo a colposcopy test. This is very similer to a cervical screening, but just held in a hospital environment.

Support

You can contact the Public Health Screening Helpdesk on 0203 682 0890 if you have further questions.

or email [email protected]

Another good support system is Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – 0808 802 8000. Or www.jostrust.org.uk

And finally please dont be that person that doesnt go for their smear screening and lives to regret it later on. Get it booked.

If I can do it, so can you!

Love and Regards

M11bna

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