Wednesday, 13 May 2015

My First Smear

At the ripe old age of 25, a letter flops through my letter box inviting me to make an appointment for a cervical smear test.

Images like this one were all over the bloggosphere not that long ago and it inspired me to share my own experience. 

To be honest, that wasn't the first letter I'd had about going for a smear but the first time I got the letter I was pregnant and therefore couldn't have it done. It was actually a GP at my doctors surgery that reminded me to make an appointment. 

Now I know it's not a pleasant thing and I realise not everyone will want to read about this, so I invite you to tune out now if you don't want to read about lady parts, foofs, vajayjays, fanny's, muff's or whatever word you like to substitute vagina for! 

For the sake of this post I'm going to use the term lady parts, yes it may seem rather immature but I don't like the word vagina so I'm not going to use it, simple as.

Before I went I had a nice bath, to make sure everything was nice and clean "down there" and it helped me to relax a bit too. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous but after having a baby and also having had the coil in the past it doesn't really phase me. 

The nurse called me into the treatment room and explained that results take around two weeks to come back and that they also check for HPV (human papilloma virus) which is common in the general population and just means you may be slightly higher risk. If this is detected you may be referred for a colposcopy (where a microscope is used to look for abnormalities). Please don't freak out, that's only IF they find anything abnormal, and an abnormality DOES NOT mean you have cancer. Abnormal cells could lead to cancer if not treated, but that doesn't mean it will! The idea here is that prevention is better than a cure. 

So on with the procedure, the nurse asked me to remove my clothing and underwear from the waist down. She pulled curtains around and asked me to tell her when I was ready. This way you don't have to undress in front of anyone. I wore a dress for practicality, it's easy access and goes a small way of covering up your decency. I lay on the bed and the nurse asked me to pull my knees up, put my heels together and then spread my knees apart. She inserted a small speculum (like a plastic tube, about the size of a tampon, lubed up with KY jelly) into my lady parts so she could see my cervix.

Now my experience was different to most in that my cervix is at a funny angle (I have been told before that I have a retroverted uterus, it just means it tips backwards rather than forward) and therefore was asked to lie on my side and hold my leg so she could get better access. She then swabbed my cervix (with a cotton swab, like a long ear bud) removed the speculum and all was done. She then left the curtained area while I got dressed.

The whole thing was over in 5 minutes and although it's uncomfortable it's not painful. If you've had your letter, go and get it over and done with. I certainly want to be around for my son and my family, it's so worth doing, it's 5 uncomfortable minutes that could save your life!

For more information see the NHS website HERE

Feel free to ask me any questions,

Thanks for reading,

Wench x 

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