I had my first Smear Test : Here's why you should book yours too

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So a few weeks back, when 'The Beast from the East' hit and everyone was snowed in, I trekked on out to the Doctors for a less than exciting appointment. Well, I mean, is any Doctors appointment ever exciting?! But I turn 25 this month (argh!) and so the letter came through my front door 'inviting' me to have a cervical screening. If you happen to not know what this is, then there's lots of info here. It's basically a routine check-up that you start being offered on a 3 yearly cycle once you reach 25 to check that everything with your cervix is A-ok! It's not a test for cervical cancer, but a test on whether the cells in your cervix are ~normal~. They test for HPV which is a virus that can affect the cells, and certain types can lead to cancer. I never considered not attending, because it could quite literally save your life. I mean, stripping off and having a stranger look, quite literally, inside of you, is of course less than pleasant; but to be blunt, always preferable to death, y'know?

When I say this was my first smear test, that's true. But it's not my first vaginal examination. TMI? Soz! But I've been suffering a lot of intense, cramping abdomen pains for a few years now and on the quest to find out the cause, I had an internal (along with an ultrasound, numerous blood tests and almost every other test you could think of). So I knew what to expect. Three years ago when I didn't know what to expect, my doctor whipped the speculum out and told me 'this is what they call the torture device' while laughing, so it couldn't be much worse than that really, could it?

Yes I was still nervous, and yes of course it wasn't pleasant, but tbh I think the sight of me, legs akimbo in my knee high wellie socks and Calvin Klein sweatshirt made the situation more traumatic for the poor nurse than it was for me! It's uncomfortable, but not painful; you feel a bit of a burn with the stretch of the speculum and it's bizarre feeling the swabbing as they take a few cells, but including the nurse talking me through what it was and how it worked beforehand, I was in and out of the room in less than 10 minutes. If you reward yourself with a hot chocolate afterwards it's almost forgotten!

The results are posted out to you much like the invitation was (I don't like calling it an invite, it's not a bloody party, but what else do I call it?!) approx. 2 weeks after your appointment. Mine took a little longer, more like 4 weeks, and yes I got a bit anxious, but not enough to chase. Do you ever get so anxious about things that it makes you not want to find out? Yeah, that. But my results came through all fine "You are currently at a very low risk of cervical cancer" is what it said and that I would next need to go for an appointment in 3 years time. So although there was nothing to be found, I'm obviously still glad that I went.

It's so so important to go, because cervical cancer can have so few symptoms until it's advanced. This is the best way to detect any abnormalities and possibly prevent it! So don't ignore that letter if/when it comes through your door.


Loves. Emma.



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