This Cervical Screening Awareness Week ( 10th 16th June) you’ll read lots of stats about why you should go for your smear test, but what should you actually expect? We’ve busted some myths, below.
I don’t want my GP to do it
You can book a Cervical Screening with any registered practitioner, so if you’d rather it was performed by a woman or someone you don’t know, just ask! If you’d rather totally avoid your GP you can also go to a Sexual Health Clinic or a Well Woman Clinic
I don’t want to go alone
That’s fine! You’re allowed a chaperone, and the nurse will ensure you’re fully covered up.
I’ve heard there’s scraping
First, your nurse or doctor will insert a device called a speculum in order to see the cervix. Then they’ll insert a small brush to gently remove some cells. That’s it!
It hurts, right?
Most women describe it as a little uncomfortable. If you’re really concerned, you can ask for a smaller speculum to be used.
What actually happens?
You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down and cover your bottom half with a sheet – the nurse will either leave the room or ask you to go behind a curtain so they won’t see. Once ready you’ll be asked to pop your hands behind your back to raise your pelvis and spread your pelvis. They’ll then insert a lubricated speculum followed by the small brush to gently remove some cells.
It’s so awkward!
It won’t be. Your nurse or doctor will talk you through everything and be able to answer your questions. They are also totally understanding of your fears, so most have developed some pretty inventive distraction technics!
I don’t like having to wait for results.
Good news – the NHS aims to get your results to you within 14 days.
What if I’m on my period?
Ideally it’s preferred that you don’t attend a screening whilst on your period, mid-cycle is best.
I’m still unsure – I have questions!
Totally understandable. You can book an appointment with your nurse or doctor before your test to talk it through, or charities like Jo’s Trust and The Eve Appeal have lots of information, helplines and private online chats!