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First smear test on Tuesday and dreading it.

(54 Posts)
sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:18:33

I have to go for my very much dreaded first smear test on Tuesday morning at 10:30 after I finish doing a 12 hour nightshift, but I am thinking about cancelling again. I have read the pink leaflet I got with the original letter though the thought of going through with it terrifies me however I know that a smear test is important.

Not really fond of the idea of my intimate parts being on display to be probed etc though it must be the same for everyone. Any advice?

who is fond of the idea of some random at their lady bits?

but isn't so bad takes just a minute and so worth it

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:29:29

Yeh I know noone is of course. I know I really need to go though totally been dreading the whole thought of it.

num3onway Fri 23-Aug-13 18:30:46

I am waiting to book for my first however I have been spotting for 12 weeks since going on depo

SkiSchoolRun Fri 23-Aug-13 18:31:34

Take an ibuprofen 30 mins before. I had a sneaky vodka on the way to my first post baby smear on the nurse's suggestion!

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:33:38

Must be good to have a nurse with a suggestion like that, I wont have the chance to have a vodka lol as I need to drive straight from my work to the clinic.

mrsden Fri 23-Aug-13 18:35:04

it really is fine. It takes no time at all, it shouldn't be painful just a little uncomfortable but it's so quick. Tell the nurse doing it you're nervous and they will talk you through what they're going to do.

LIZS Fri 23-Aug-13 18:36:16

Tell the nurse you're nervous. They are much more discreet these days and you usually get a modesty paper cloth so you can't see what is going on. Otherwise wear a longish top or tunic dress .

YoniBottsBumgina Fri 23-Aug-13 18:38:32

It honestly does not hurt at all. I was really worried about mine and it was nowhere near as bad as I expected it to be. You will be fine - and once it's done that's it for the next few years!

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:38:46

Yes I have heard people say its uncomfortable and others who have experienced pain. As I wont have time to change I will have my works uniform on which is a tunic top, cardigan, and trousers with flat shoes.

Bowlersarm Fri 23-Aug-13 18:38:47

Just think of it as something that is absolutely essential and you must do it. Then you don't have to think about it for three years, safe in the knowledge that you are clear.

The medical staff do this day in day out. It is just their job, and they've seen it all, many many times. Nothing can surprise them. You are just one of many women through their door.

It is a very quick process.

Make sure you don't cancel.

Hope some of that helps!

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:40:16

Thanks bowlersarm I wont cancel. I have just been needing to prepare myself thats all.

Bowlersarm Fri 23-Aug-13 18:41:12

Also, psychologically, I find it easier in the summer. In the winter you really feel like you're stripping taking off coats, scarves, boots, socks etc.

It seems much less intrusive in the summer.

It's not the nicest thing OP, but has to be done.

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:44:30

I know what you mean about summer, though as I couldnt get another appointment and need to go after work I cant wear a skirt so will need to take off my trousers, socks, shoes. I had been thinking of keeping my socks on so I would fee less exposed.

YoniBottsBumgina Fri 23-Aug-13 18:48:27

You know when people say "this medical procedure doesn't hurt but is a bit uncomfortable" and then it hurts like hell and you are all WTF??

Well, that happens to me a lot but honestly, seriously, it is slightly uncomfortable and that is it. It's uncomfortable because it's something a bit cold up there - although much better now they use plastic speculums rather than the metal ones they tend to use in pregnancy - and that's basically it.

It will help if you can force yourself to un-tense, too - sounds a bit woo but if you can focus on a lotus flower opening then that can help things to open up a bit down there to help the muscles relax.

Bowlersarm Fri 23-Aug-13 18:48:49

It sounds silly but yes keeping socks on, and wearing a long top do help.

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:49:54

Thanks, that does sound reassuring.

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:51:37

Was thinking as well maybe I should go for a paper gown.

I have my second on Thursday and am barely thinking about it. The first was absolutely no big deal. The nurse locks the door so no-one can interrupt. It didn't hurt and it wasn't even uncomfortable. It was over in seconds. I wore a skirt so I could keep most of my clothes on and intend to do the same again.

I had a coil fitted in November which was incredibly painful; this is nothing! wink

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 19:00:53

It's reassuring to hear that you are barely thinking about your second one. I was planning to get a coil fitted at some point as well tho the smear sounds nothing compared to that.

LanguageTimothy Fri 23-Aug-13 19:01:10

Sharon well done for being so brave.

Honestly it's fine. You'll be so relieved afterwards and wonder what you were bothered about.

It has to be done. The nurses won't bat an eyelid.

And yes, Keep socks on. Chat to nurse to distract you.

colditz Fri 23-Aug-13 19:02:20

I know they say it's uncomfor tale but I don't think thy mean physically, because I barely noticed my first smear.

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 19:02:51

Thanks LanguageTimothy I do intend to keep my socks on as I dont see the point in taking them off if you dont need to.

LanguageTimothy Fri 23-Aug-13 19:02:55

I had a coil. It was a bit sore but not too bad (and it's brilliant - no periods!) not everyone finds it painful. Staying relaxed really helps.

colditz Fri 23-Aug-13 19:03:56

Oh, and give yrself a wipe with a baby wipe just before you go in, and then u KNOW you're clean and fragrant.

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 19:05:07

Yeh baby wipe sounds a good idea as I wont have a chance to shower beforehand after working all night.

hellymelly Fri 23-Aug-13 19:33:23

I had my first smear test last year. I was 48! Anyway it was absolutely fine. Much faster than I expected, and it didn't hurt. The nurse was an older lady and really kind about it being my first one, she was lovely and it really was one..two..three..done. I have ishoos surrounding examinations, hence leaving it so long, but it was far better than I thought it would be, and I wasn't upset afterwards. You will be fine. smile. brew flowers

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 19:37:22

Thank you, the messages all do sound reassuring. I know I really need to stop worrying though at same time I will probably keep thinking bout it until I go on Tuesday which is why I aint gonna put it off any longer.

upanddown83 Fri 23-Aug-13 20:20:52

I have been getting smears every 6 months for the last 5 yrs because of abnormal smears and the 1st is the worst because you don't know what to expect.
Relaxing is the key and focus on your breathing I chat away to the nurse now when I'm getting it done often about how she can't find my cervix!!shock
I'd prefer a smear to having blood taken anyday!

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 20:31:30

Maybe I need to chat to the nurse when having it done though I hope she chats to me first as I hate making the convo in embarassing situations. I will try to relax as much as I can.

ukatlast Fri 23-Aug-13 20:49:30

It really shouldn't be painful...just relax, close your eyes and let them do their stuff. It's one of those things that everyone talks about as if it's a big deal but if someone half decent does it, it's fine.
Once you have had babies, you are no longer even embarrassed at the situation...but the first time yes..normal to feel a bit embarrassed.

You will be fine....I expect you do much much worse things to people in your job as a nurse lol.

ukatlast Fri 23-Aug-13 20:50:51

Sorry assumed you were a nurse...

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 20:52:35

thanks ukatlast I am not a nurse though the work uniform may have suggested i was lol, i work in a care home. I havent had any babies either.

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:31:55

Thank you for your advie earlier everyone, I have had a couple of glasses of wine since to calm my nerves a bit tho know I gonna keep thinkin about it in the morning. I know I am gonna do the right thing though and have the smear to get this over and done with.

hellymelly Fri 23-Aug-13 23:07:38

My best friend is very modest and shy and hates going to the Doctor, she had a smear years before me and said "If I can do it, anyone can do it" and I thought of her when I went for mine. I suppose it is easier after babies, as you have got more used to vaginal exams, but I had a some examinations during labour that had made me more frightened rather than less. It really was far far better than I imagined, and much faster, and a total relief to have done it. The results were fast too. Give yourself a little treat afterwards for being brave!

sharonfagan1991 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:09:41

Yes thanks hellymelly I should rele treat myself. I worry over nothing I know though is still hard.

YonderWoman Sat 24-Aug-13 14:02:13

I would just like to say that you don't have to have a smear test. Cervical cancer is extremely rare. I worked in an inner city GP surgery for over 15 years and I have never seen a case. There were plenty of women who had abnormal cells who went on to have unnecessary colposcopys, and biopsies - which all came back clear. If these women had not had a smear test, they wouldn't have the anxiety and fear of cancer.

You are offered a test and it is up to you whether or not you need one. You may want to think about the risks and benefits to you. Dr Margaret McCarthy has written a book which includes a piece about unnecessary smear tests. Doctors get paid to screen women. They have a conflict of interest. The more women that screen, the more they get paid, so of course they are going to encourage you to hop on the couch.

If Dr McCarthy, an educated woman who must know all the risks and benefits of a smear test says no to them, doesn't it make you question why you want one?

colditz Sat 24-Aug-13 14:38:15

My friend had cervical cancer when she was 26. She had a hysterectomy and she nearly died. They only caught it because of a routine smear.

I don't want to be the woman who died and left her children motherless because I was too complacent to get my fanny checked.

Prettyrainbow Sat 24-Aug-13 15:02:31

If you are worried about being a bit ' unfresh' after work, take a bottle of water with you, pop for a wee when you arrive at drs and use the water to have a quick wash- just pour it over your bits while sitting on loo then dab dry. Baby wipes etc are ok but some people find they still irritate.

Honestly- it's nothing to worry about. It rarely hurts but if you tense up it will be worse and harder for them.

Prettyrainbow Sat 24-Aug-13 15:06:04

Yonder I know 3 friends who were recalled and one had the last stage of pre cancer before true cancer- in her 30s and childless. It may be relatively rare but that's because a lot of women are now treated for pre cancerous cells before they change into cancer. Unless you are a gynae dr or an expert on cervical cancer I really don't think it's right to try to persuade women from having a smear test.

Relaxedandhappyperson Sat 24-Aug-13 17:07:20

They hurt me so much I've only had one smear but quite a few more failed attempts.

But the time that was successful didn't hurt at all. That was a lovely doctor, the rest were practice nurses who don't tell you how wide they are going to open it til I scream. Ouch.

Relaxedandhappyperson Sat 24-Aug-13 17:08:11

Traumatised my grammar too but I definitely seem to be in the minority finding them so bad.

specialsubject Sat 24-Aug-13 17:28:00

ignore the 'don't have to have it' post. You don't have to have it, but you'd be stupid not to. Usual ignorance of science there, plus the old shock that doctors work for money. Well, who'd have thought? Bet the next post talks about 'big pharma'...

top tip - take a long skirt or sarong with you. When asked to undress, remove your trousers and knickers and put that on, because the 'modesty cloth' can now be about six inches square! Then you don't see what is going on but the nurse can still do her work. And remember they have seen it all before.

be grateful for our health service.

Prettyrainbow Sat 24-Aug-13 17:56:44

Don't you think it would look rather odd taking out your own sarong or skirt? I think it would. The modesty sheet is there not to hide what they are doing from you , but to cover your pubes , tummy and thighs so they just see the bits they need to. If you wear a long T shirt, blouse, cardi or a dress or skirt you can just hitch them up and don't even need remove. But who cares- honestly? They've seen millions of women. I think 99% of mine were carried out by male drs and after years of them rummaging around there I am a bit blase.

alabasterangel Sat 24-Aug-13 18:51:39

Whenever I have to go, I remember a story that a colleague told me. She had her first smear many years ago when they were a relatively new thing, and hers at the time was done by the GP himself (young, newly qualified) in her small community, and she was a relatively young mum who had been advised to have it done due to a family history.

She had no idea what to expect, but wanted to just get it done and get out and had been dreading it. She was VERY nervous. Dr advised her to 'undress' and lie on the couch. So she did just that, completely naively. You can imagine the Drs face when he pulled back the curtain and she was totally naked.... Seriously....she is so embarrassed now she says she had no clue what the test would involve and just did what she was told.....!!!! He was mortified, she was mortified..... No one knew where to look.

So whenever I go now I remember that, it makes me smile. No one likes having it done, but there are great tips here. You'll be fine, and you'll be really proud of yourself for going.....

Bowlersarm Sat 24-Aug-13 19:15:20

Just think OP this time next week it will be well and truly over with.

sharonfagan91 Sun 25-Aug-13 12:37:13

Thank you so much for all the replies, was working last night. Yeah I had been worried about being a bit unfresh after doing a 12 hour shift beforehand and not having the chance to have a shower though the bottle of water sounds a great idea.

specialsubject Sun 25-Aug-13 16:08:15

I took my own sarong last time, the nurses said they thought it was a great idea as the 'modesty cloth' was so small.

but I agree it doesn't matter, they have seen it all before. It is just a psychological aid to feel a little more dignified.

DrinaDancesInParis Mon 26-Aug-13 12:48:03

OP it will be fine, it really will. My lovely nurse puts an electric heater on to warm up the room first! She also told me if you bring your keens up so your heels are touching your bum, then just let your knees drop, your vagina naturally relaxes.

Remember that the nurse has seen everything before. Tell her that you are nervous. Just concentrate on your breathing and it will be over before you know it.

DrinaDancesInParis Mon 26-Aug-13 12:48:35

*knees, obviously hmm

juneybean Mon 26-Aug-13 12:49:51

It'll be fine, I wore a skirt and it was uncomfortable but didn't hurt.

I went for my smear today and it was quick and pain free. I had trousers on but just took them and my pants off and got on the examination table. You put your feet together with your knees bent and out to either side and that helps to get better access. They then use a speculum so they can see the cervix and use a little brush to scrape some cells from the surface. Mine was done by the nurse and over in a couple of minutes.

p.s. I never even had a modesty cloth and was left wearing a bra and t-shirt. The curtain was round and the nurse let me get undressed and dressed by myself so it was fine. I have given birth twice though so have no sense of modesty left now anyway grin

ots Wed 28-Aug-13 23:44:19

Hi OP. Hope your smear went ok. I put my first smear off for about 6 months. My results came back as severe dyskaryosis, which is the last stage before it becomes cancer. I'm 25!
Luckily there were only 2 affected cells which were removed and I've been put on 6 monthly smears to keep an eye on it. I dread to think of what might have happened if I'd put it off any longer. I have a 2 year old DS.
I'm not saying this to scare you, more as a reminder how important it is not to put it off. Well done for going ahead with it smile

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