5 Ways to Prep For Your Smear/Cervical Screening Test
I turned twenty five three weeks ago, and one thing I promised myself I would do, is go to my smear/cervical screening test. I have grown up watching documentaries on Jade Goody, and reading stories online of women who got the terrifying diagnosis.
It wasn't until my Mum had VIN which is Vulval intraepithelial neoplasia, a pre-cancerious vulva cancer that I realised prevetion is way better than the cure.
Being from the UK, I'm so lucky to have the incredible NHS. I watched them over just a few months remove what was a large piece of VIN in my mums vulva. The day we got the letter to say she no longer had any traces of cancer or pre-cancerous cells, I cried in the middle of the supermarket.
From then on, I promised I'd get my smear test as soon as I possibly could, and I knew that whatever the result, I needed to go.
According to the NHS, one in three women do not attend their cervical screening due to 'embarassment'.
Before I got this done, I completely understood where these women were coming from, I mean the whole sound of it give me a gush of panic and made me feel sick to my stomach. When I actually got it done, I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was.
I actually said to the nurse, 'is that it, seriously?!'
I have decided to put together 5 things I done myself, to prepare me for my smear. I promise, it is thee easiest thing in the world, and I'm hoping these 5 steps will help prepare you, or better yet, make you book an appointment.
1) Wear a Long Jumper or Dress
This was the main thing for me, that made me feel as comfortable as possible. I wore a dress that went just above my knees. When you have to sit on the chair this is perfect.
The nurse will usually leave you alone to get undressed, and you can give her a shout when you are ready. So it's incredibly easy to take off what you need, jump on the chair and raise your dress.
This way you feel much less exposed.
Also, don't worry. You are given a sheet to place over the bits that are on show.
I felt extremely comfy, more than I actually should! I could have went to sleep on there. It's definitely much less daunting when you realise how covered you are.
2) Take Some Kalms
I suffer with mild anxiety, and use herbal tablets to get me through rough days. For me, they really work.
Because of how bad I was panicking, I took some an hour before I went. This usually helps me with heart palpitations and grounds me before I lose control and back-out.
3) Have a Little Research of What is Going to Happen
This may sound terrifying, and you may think it will put you off going, but really if you know exactly what is going to happen, nothing will be a surprise.
If you don't know what to expect, the test is basically to check the health of your cervix, which is the opening of your womb to your vagina. The nurse will be taking a small sample of cells from your cervix to test for HPV.
If you want to see how it works/what it looks like, I have attached a video here.
From my experience and lots of others, it is not at all painful. The nurse described it as 'someone applying pressure to your finger nail' and I would say that is a great example.
4) Remind Yourself it is Simply a Check-up
Rember, this is a simple check up to make sure everything is ok, it doesn't mean anything is wrong. This test is for women aged 25-64 and the reason it is available is to ensure any signs of HPV are monitored early, before anything can turn into cancer.
Even if you do test positive for HPV, don't panic, it is just something the nurses will need to keep an eye on. Going to your test ensures you catch it early, and that's great.
Thing of it like going to a dentist check up or a doctors check up, you are going to be ok!
5) Remember you are in Control
This is something I wish I knew before my test but didn't research. You can ask the nurse to stop at any given time.
If you get to nervous, or feel to uncomfortable, ask the nurse to stop. Even if it takes you 20 minutes to come round, or to book another appointment, you are the boss.
No nurse will do anything you do not consent to, and remember, if you don't feel comfortable with it being just you & a nurse, you can request another member of staff to come in.
This is your appointment and is essensially all about you. Don't put yourself through any stress you don't need!
I hope this blog has helped, these are my 5 tips to prepping before a smear test, a lot of the time all of the worries are in your head, so even drilling in some little reminds such as you are in control will really help.
Please let me know if you have any questions on smear tests and I will be sure to answer them as best as I can!