It’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Week and research revealed has that 35% of young women don’t attend smear tests due to being embarrassed about their body shape. It was also found that one in four women do not make an appointment after receiving their smear invitation. Having a regular smear test is important as it helps to detect any abnormal cells that could possibly become cancerous.
I think it’s important to raise awareness of the issue of women not attending but what I really disagree with are some of the posts that I’ve seen on social media. I’ve seen so many women calling other’s ‘dumb’ ‘stupid’ and a whole range of other things for not attending.
I disagree with this because everyone’s experience of a smear test will be different. Everyone has different worries, different thoughts and different levels of discomfort. Up until a couple of months ago, I was one of those girls who avoided going for a smear test.
Why? Because I was worried about it, mostly due to the horror stories that I had seen online. I had also read that up until the age of 25, the results had a higher chance of coming back as abnormal so I used this as my excuse. When I had a doctor’s appointment I told them this so that they would stop sending me reminder letters.
So what changed my mind? I decided that I wanted to have a Mirena coil fitted, which involves a small T shaped plastic device filled with hormones being inserted into the cervix (I’m happy to make another post about this if it’s something you’re interested in hearing about). As much as I wanted to have it fitted, I was also terrified and almost backed out at the last minute as there had been a mix up with my appointment. I had thought to myself maybe it’s a sign that I should just back out but I chose to go through with it. The doctor suggested that I just get my smear done too since I was going to be in the same position to get the Mirena fitted. I decided if I could do one then I could do the other.
I’m going to give a run-down of the procedure and my experience. I do recommend that you go for your smear and if reading about the different steps helps persuades one person to go then that brilliant. If you decide not to attend a smear appointment then that’s your choice and you’re perfectly entitled to do so.
As I was having the Mirena fitted after I had a doctor and a nurse in the room. However usually when you attend a smear test there will just be one nurse or doctor. The nurse will ask you to undress from the waist down, but if you’re wearing a skirt you can usually get away with just lifting it up. You then jump up on the chair with your leg spread apart and the nurse will get ready to take your test. They’ll give you some of the disposable paper tissue to cover yourself up a little so you don’t feel as exposed. If they don’t do this and you can always say you’d like some, the nurses know that not everyone is comfortable feeling as exposed as you feel during this procedure.
They’ll then take the speculum and gently insert it into your vagina. This is used to hold the vagina open so that the cervix can be seen, and can feel a little uncomfortable for some people. The nurse then uses a small brush to collect some cells from the cervix, I’ll be honest I didn’t feel this part of the procedure at all. If you do feel any pain or discomfort during your smear test then let the nurse know as she might be able to make things more comfortable for you.
Although the procedure is a little embarrassing it’s important to remember that the nurses do smear tests all the time, so they don’t really notice or care what size or shape you are or whether you’ve had a wax or not.
It’s such an important test and it usually only takes about five minutes so I’d definitely recommend going to get it done.
Do you think it’s important to get smear test? Also if you’ve got any questions then feel free to ask!
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