This post won’t be for everyone ♡ TMI ♡ – I was literally horrified when I recieved the ‘invitation’ in the post. Expecting its arrival does not make it more manageable. I thought I would share my experience because.. why not be open about it! Hopefully it will make some of you feel better when the day comes.
So being the lovely age of 25 and having recieved my dreaded letter (at 24 and a half) I arranged to have my first Cervical Screening | Smear Test | Pap Smear – Whatever you might like to call it.
As it drew closer I was feeling incredibly anxious about the event. Not so much with having my parts ‘inspected’ by a stranger (I think we have to come to terms with this as it WILL happen throughout our adult lives) but more so with not knowing what to expect. With that in mind I prepared myself for the occasion any way I could.
- Researching online – I spent some time reading blog posts and forums of other peoples experiences.
- Chatting with friends – I asked my sister and almost any other woman I came into contact with what their experience was like.
- Picking my outfit – My sister suggested I wear a dress as you feel less exposed and you can use it as a sheild. Not to worry though, they do give you some paper roll to use for modesty.
- Sorting myself – I shaved the night before.. a bit weird because as if the nurse cares! It made me feel better though and that is what’s important.
The day soon rolled round and before I knew it I was sat in the doctors waiting room, palms sweating and heart racing, waiting for my name to be called. It was at this point that my stomache started to ache and turn – Remember that feeling before an exam! Luckily enough the moment my name was called it disappeared. With crisis averted I made my way down to ‘Clare in room 6’.
The nurse (Clare) was lovely. She welcomed me in, explained what was going to happen, asked a few questions and took my blood pressure. I popped behind the curtain and preparred myself. Feet together, legs apart, one deep breath and we were off.
The first speculum – a pleasent surprise. I hardly noticed it and remember thinking ‘wow, is that it’? Indeed for most that would be it, a quick shuffle and out again but this was not the case.
Clare explained that my cervix was hiding and that she would need a slimmer and longer speculum – introducing speculum number 2. I will admit this was more noticible than the first, not uncomfortable but I certainly knew it was there. Again nothing..
A third and final sepculum was then used. Nurse Clare had asked me to clench both fists and pop them under my butt to lift my pelvis and therefore change the angle of my cervix. With a little poking around this seemed to work and woohoo my cervix appeared.
By this point I was stressed and tense so the process did feel more uncomfortable than before. I am confident that if my cervix wasn’t hiding then It would have been a breeze.
The thing that I was most anxious about actually bothered me the least. I had read online that you can feel a slight scraping / scratching when they used the brush to gather cells. This didn’t seem to be the case for me. I was quite aware that something was going on and I could feel movement.. a kind of rumaging around.. but that was about it.
Out popped the speculum and job was done. The nurse suggested I lay there for a while. Maybe there was a look of horror on my face and she was worried I may faint. She explained when I would get my results and also that they might be inconclusive due to the difficulty finding my cervix. If that is the case I will have to go back in 3 months for another smear – which honestly wouldn’t bother me (that much) because it really wasn’t too bad.
The hidden cervix – I had not seen any mention of this in any of my ‘research’ but it isn’t unusual. Clare mentioned that she initially used a shorter speculum because I am little – she thought it might be lower down. I can only assume they size you up when you walk in to determine what is best.
Overall I think my first smear test was okay even if I felt a little traumatised at first due to the hidden cervix. Had the nurse not needed to use multiple speculums I think it would have gone smoother as I wouldn’t have tensed up and you can notice a difference if you do!
Final words would be it is worth it. The short, swift process might be embarassing or uncomfortable but it is necessary for peace of mind or to catch something early. I know at least 4 woman personally who have discovered cells this way and were able to nip it in the bud before it became something more. Trust me it is nowhere near as bad as what your mind makes it, you will be fine!
*Edit – just over 2 weeks later and the sample came back normal. It is done now for another few years! Well worth it, whether it be for a sigh of relief or for catching something early.