Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Don't Fear the Smear
About a fortnight ago I booked in for my first smear test which is something I was feeling very nervous about (more so the results than the actual procedure). I've been on the contraceptive pill for almost ten years and when I heard it can slightly increase your risk of cervical cancer, I started to worry. After reading various horror stories online and convincing myself I had all the symptoms (as you do) I'd gotten myself more worked up than ever and was eager to be tested. Therefore, when my letter came through inviting me to my screening, I called my doctor and booked an appointment straight away.
I'd been told by many people beforehand that being screened is nowhere near as bad as everyone assumes, so I didn't feel too anxious. The nurse was really friendly and made me feel completely at ease. She questioned me about my periods etc. before asking me to remove my bottoms and lie down on the bed. I'd never been examined 'down there' medically so it felt a little strange, but I just kept telling myself that doctors and nurses see hundreds of vaginas every day - they're not fazed by it!
The test itself wasn't painful for me at all - just a bit uncomfortable (similar to a cramp, in fact) but it was over in seconds. The nurse did say that I'd bled slightly which could interfere with my results (meaning I'd have to be tested again) but she assured me it was nothing to worry about. She also mentioned that I might find some blood in my knickers later in the day, which again, is completely normal.
I received my results in the post yesterday and thankfully, everything is fine - I don't have to go back for another screening until 2019. In a way, I'm glad I was panicking about my pill because if I wasn't, knowing me I'd probably have tossed my invite to one side and forgotten about it.
I've heard so many girls say they're scared to book their smear because they're worried it will hurt or, like me, they're concerned about the results, but please, don't put it off. It takes around ten minutes of your time and could save your life.
I hope this post has been helpful or at least served as a reminder to some of you to arrange an appointment. I know it's quite a personal topic but it's something very close to my heart so if anyone wants to ask any questions, please feel free to email me. Alternatively, if you'd like to read more information you can visit the NHS page on cervical screening here.