With rates of women going for a smear test dropping I wanted to write a blog post to try and not only encourage young women to go but also to make them feel less daunted by the whole prospect. After all it isn’t pleasant but neither is having your eyebrows waxed and I for one always make time for that appointment.
I have written this post to share an honest account of the smear test process and not to cause any offence. Please be aware, before carrying on reading that this post has largely adult content.
The dreaded smear test letter greeted me when I came home from baby play a few weeks ago. I must admit I did put off booking the appointment but reminded myself I am extremely luckily to live in a country which, not only provides this test but provides it for free. So I booked the appointment and put it to the back of my mind.
However, the morning of the test those worries set in. Ladies you all know what what worries I mean! Worry number one was do I shave? Do I trim? Do I go completely bald ? I opted for the trim and neaten up, just in case you were all wondering. I decided to ask the nurse, when I arrived, if there was some sort of pubic hair protocol. She laughed and said she didn’t take much notice of her patients gardens. So there it is they do not care.
The next worry I hear you cry – Should I wash when I get there? Should I carry out a full and thorough shower beforehand? (You all know what I mean) Should I have a quick wipe over with a baby wipe when I get there? I personally went for the thorough shower and quick wipe once I arrived, after all if someone is inspecting and poking my lady parts I want them to look tip top. Again as long as you’ve not come straight from the gym I don’t think the nurses take too much notice.
The final ridiculous worry I had was what underwear should I wear? The reason I say this is ridiculous is because the nurse asks you to undress behind a screen so she won’t even see your carefully picked our garments. I would say wear what ever makes you feel comfortable or which ever underwear you don’t mind getting covered in lube. More about the over lubing later on.
Once I had overcome all these hurdles I now just had the task of actually getting the smear test done. Looking back I would say the preparation nerves was the worst part.
So I arrive, check in for my appointment and wait. Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long before I was called in. I must stress the nurse I had was lovely and really did put me at ease. She was excellent at talking about all manner of things, other than the task on hand and in this case it was more than welcomed.
After a few initial data questions I undressed and jumped on top of the highest patient bed I have ever come across. Not an easy or graceful task when you are half naked. Not long after I had tackled the bed and was lying comfortable, the nurse came in and informed me of how the procedure would be carried out.
She then inserted an extremely lubed up speculum. So lubed up it was dripping. Still I supposed this was a better option than not having enough lube. Unfortunately my cervix was being extra shy and she had to go and get a longer speculum. Even having two speculums and being left legs apart on a bed for a few more minutes than expected, was not the end of the world. Once my cervix stopped being shy it took 2 minutes for her to swab it, with a mascara like brush. The sound was a little odd, like when you scrap a spoon on the side of a jar when trying to get the last bit of mayo. Sorry for this analogy but honestly the noise was the only weird or uncomfortable part. Once the test was over the nurse asked me a couple of question about breast self care and that was it. It was over and took exactly 8 minutes, from the moment I stepped inside the room.
To put it bluntly it is 10 minutes of your day but those 10 minutes could be the difference between life or death. Yes it can be uncomfortable and isn’t the most pleasant way to spend time 15 minutes but by not going it could lead to a lot more pain, suffering and heart break.
Let me know in the comments if you have any advice to pass on to other ladies?