No Smear Fear

Before my first smear test

The letter inviting me for my first smear arrived last month, although I’m not yet 25, they tend to arrive early and my doctors had the availability for 3 weeks time. With that, it was booked in and then it was just a waiting game. There wasn’t even a part of my mind which thought about not getting it done. Despite being anxious, I knew it was something that NEEDS to be done.

I actually saw a video which Zoe Sugg did of her getting a smear test, with the aim of getting others to get them (and people underestimate influencers!) So seeing and hearing about the process in the video, did ease my nerves when I thought about getting the smear test as I had some kind of idea how it goes.

It wasn’t until the day before, I really started to panic. My anxiety kicked in and the idea of getting one seemed almost impossible. I hardly slept the night before. The fear of the unknown took over, even though I’d seen this video, the nurse was nice. I was worried about the nurse being horrible, the pain and everything in between. I had lots of lovely comments on Twitter about getting a smear test when I stated I was nervous, which helped a lot.

During the test

Before I knew it, I was walking into the doctors and going to get my smear test. The nurse was so kind and could tell I was nervous, she spoke to me beforehand advising what would happen and also advised what was happening during the test step by step.

One of the best tips I was advised on Twitter was to wear a skirt or a dress, this allowed me to just remove my underwear and leave everything else on. That helped me to feel a lot more comfortable. The nurse told me how much she liked my rabbit tattoos and how she has them too- always good to have a distraction.

The test itself includes a speculum, and a swab to take the sample. They lubricate the speculum and the gel is a bit cold, but once it’s in, taking the sample is a weird feeling, as they have to twist around the swab around to make sure they get enough of the sample. Then that’s it. Was over in 2 minutes.

The nurse advised it would be 3 weeks for the results and I’ll find out the outcome by letter.

What is your first smear test like?

Tips for on the day of the test:

  • Make sure you eat

I know when I get nervous I tend to skip meals, however, the sugar helped level me out when I got nervous.

  • Wear a skirt or dress

Being able to keep items your main item of clothing on often makes you feel more at ease. Jeans/Leggings aren’t something I’d recommend wearing.

  • Take someone with you

If you feel extremely nervous about going, take someone with you. Whether you’re wanting them to come with you for moral support or to come the room with you. Having somebody there made me feel at ease even though they were in the waiting room.

  • Treat yourself after

After your test treat yourself to something nice, to reward yourself for being brave. I treated myself to a coffee and cake.

  • Ask questions

If you’re not sure about any part of the test or would like further information at any point, your nurse will be happy to tell you how it works. Remember they’ve done tons of them, so it really doesn’t bother them, don’t be embarrassed.

I hope this post has been helpful and if you’re wondering what the test is like, I’d recommend watching the video which Zoe Sugg made of her own experience.

9 thoughts on “#NoMoreSmearFear: I had my first smear test.

  1. Sarah Bailey says:

    I absolutely hate having my smear test, I often end up putting it off, though at the moment I’m not due one phew! They are so important though and it is great people are starting to talk about it more.

  2. Valerie says:

    Pap smears are part of our scheduled annual exams here. We have to be undressed which makes you feel vulnerable so being able to wear things you’re used to would be a good thing.

  3. Rebecca Smith says:

    I’ve always found the run up to the test and the anticipation of it to be worse than the actual test. It is such an important thing to get done, I always get mine done when I get the reminder.

  4. Yaya says:

    I can’t emphasize how important having a smear test is! I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer earlier this year, and though the cancer has now regressed to hyperplasia (pre-cancerous cells) it was a traumatic experience. I had smears regularly and still had this negative experience so I urge everyone to make their gynae health a top priority. I love your tips to help things be easier and though it can be an uncomfortable experience being educated about consequences to prevent anything escalated is worth it!

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