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About putting off a cervical smear

(114 Posts)
Fakebook Thu 11-Oct-12 10:02:26

I know I probably am, but I would just like a bit more advice about this.

I'm 29 years old. I have only ever had one sexual partner and my dh has only ever had one sexual partner. We have 2 children together, the first I had when I was 24 and the second at 28. I've had second degree tears with both labours. I have no doubt about my husband's faithfulness. My periods are regular, a bit heavy (nothing unusual) and I am not on any kind of contraception.

Going from the above, that would put me at low risk for cervical cancer wouldn't it?

I am really worried because I have received a letter through the post from my surgery, telling me that my doctor is worried I have never been for a smear test, and that it's really important. I know I should go and get it done but I had a really horrible experience with a stretch and sweep and breaking my waters with my first baby, that even after a second baby, I still feel traumatised by it. I know they have to go a far way in to get to the cervix and it would hurt/be uncomfortable. I still find sex a bit uncomfortable in the missionary position after my second baby, so I can imagine how having a smear test would feel.

Also, I have this stupid thought in my head, that if they take a sample and cause a bit of erosion on the surface, it might trigger cell proliferation and cause cancer. I know this is really highly unlikely, but I can't get the thought out of my head, as my mum's liver cancer was aggravated with a biopsy.

So, just want a bit of advice really!

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Oct-12 10:06:36

I have partly overcome a severe phobia of internal exams. My advice would be to go to a family planning clinic as they are v experienced at doing the test and have the correct bed etc. Ask for a double appointment, explaining your anxieties.

Sometimes a doctor will prescribe valium in order to help the body relax and this means it is unlikely to be painful.

I had counselling sessions with an incredible doctor who helped me overcome my terrible phobia. She gave me a speculum to practise with, which I promptly left on the sink in the bathroom when I had guests round blush. But it was fine. And you will be too.

mum23girlys Thu 11-Oct-12 10:09:54

You have to go and get a smear. I would say especially since your mum has had cancer. I know it wasn't cervical but still.

A girl in our village died last week of cervical cancer. She was 26!!!!

If you are really nervous about getting it done ask your surgery if you can have a chat with the nurse before your appointment just to explain your fears. Honestly it's not that bad and if you've given birth then a simple smear test is nothing to worry about.

I was only 22 when I had an abnormal smear result and had to have treatment. Like yourself I had only ever had 2 sexual partners and had never had unprotected sex. The treatment itself wasn't pleasant but it was better than leaving the abnormal cells in my cervix.

If you aren't doing it for yourself then do it for your children. Remember Jade Goody's kids are now living a life without their mummy

GirlWithALlamaTattoo Thu 11-Oct-12 10:10:18

I think you need to grit your teeth and do it. If your receptionist is approachable, ask for a particularly nice nurse to do it, and make it clear to the nurse that you're nervous.

It is uncomfortable, but it's over in seconds, and if there was anything to find, wouldn't you rather it was found early enough to fix?

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Thu 11-Oct-12 10:13:29

No woman likes to go for smears.

Doesn't matter how many children you've had. It's just not nice.

I know this is going to sound harsh, but you don't know or a fact that you have nothing wrong with you. And I always think of Jade Goody and her children when it's smear time for me. She's missing out on her childrens lives now.

My mum tests smears for the nhs and I cannot tell you how important it is to get a smear test.

Please go and get it done. It's over in a few minutes and that's it for a few years.

The nurses at our dr's are lovely, and I'm sure if you speak to your nurses about your concerns they'll be able to put your mind at rest and give you more information.

Yanbu to not want to go
Yabu to not go

ZombTEE Thu 11-Oct-12 10:18:03

It really does take only minutes and then TADA done for another few years.

It could save your life.

Talk to your GP about your fears. Make an appointment just to do that. It's a good first step towards having the smear.

Fakebook Thu 11-Oct-12 10:19:25

I always think about Jade Goody too, but just convince myself that I am low risk.

So how long does the test last and do they use lubrication or anything? I don't care about exposing myself (lost count of how many people have seen me down there after 2 children!), just very worried about the procedure. What does a speculum look like?

MaryBS Thu 11-Oct-12 10:20:31

If it is any comfort I was traumatised by a smear I had whilst at uni. I have to make myself go, but its really important. And last time it was really easy and gentle, the nurse was so lovely! I even told her "as much as you can never enjoy these things, that was the best smear test I ever had! blush

I would have thought your mum's situation was entirely different, liver not exactly accessible, unlike your cervix. Liver biopsy would be more invasive?

Take a deep breath, get on that phone and book it

bagofholly Thu 11-Oct-12 10:22:40

Sorry to sound like the voice of dissent here but apart from if her DH has had another sexual partner, then why DOES she need one? Women who've never been sexually active don't get it and don't need to be tested, I thought.

ZombTEE Thu 11-Oct-12 10:23:25

Yes, they use lube. The test takes less than a minute. They insert the speculum, which looks like a duck, really, put in a swab, sweep, and done.

I just got back from my coil check. that's the speculum that was used on me, exactly.

Well, not that one. But similar. grin

hellymelly Thu 11-Oct-12 10:23:33

Yes you are at low risk, and I sympathise with you on the sweep, i had one with my first baby and it left me feeling assaulted (which as she hadn't ask my permission to do it, technically I was). I had my first smear recently and I'm 48! Honestly it was really fine, the nurse at my GP's practice was really kind and an older woman, so she really helped put me at ease, it was very fast, and not anywhere near as uncomfortable as the internal ultrasound I needed when pregnant (and that hadn't been too bad). It wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd thought, took literally a minute to do and not painful at all. (Even though I have a tricky cervix, very far back as I am tall). I have never read of the sweep causing erosion. They only gently pick up some cells, its not horribly abraisive. I would have though sex/some contraceptives/tampons probably rub at the cervix at some point. Cervical cancer is viral, it isn't caused by damage to the cervix, its caused by HPV . I hope that is reassuring, and that you don't leave it as long as I did, as I feel very silly for leaving it so long.

SparklyGothKat Thu 11-Oct-12 10:24:09

It's over in seconds. They use a lube to help put it in. If you relax and concentrate on your breathing it helps. I had an abnormal result last year and I had another last week and its back to normal.

ZombTEE Thu 11-Oct-12 10:25:08

Well, bagofholly, my step father's first wife only ever had him as a partner. He had always been faithful to her.

She died of cervical cancer.

So it's not just through multiple partners you can get it.

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Thu 11-Oct-12 10:25:49

I've been with my dh since I was 17.

That doesn't mean I won't get cancer.

Yes the use lube, it literally takes maybe a minute or two.

I think you should have a chat with a nurse at your surgery first. I'm sure she'll be happy to show you and explain very thing properly. Phone them and get an appointment with the nurse booked.

hellymelly Thu 11-Oct-12 10:26:09

Oh and as to the risk- as another poster said, if your partner has been faithful, and neither of you have had sexual contact with anyone else, then you won't have picked up the virus, but that does hinge on him having told you the absolute truth.

fuzzpig Thu 11-Oct-12 10:26:13

Please go and get it done. Honestly, if I can, anyone can! I was abused as a child and have a huge fear about internal exams. I cried buckets during my sweep too, and also had a bad experience on my first smear due to a nasty doctor (I quote "why do you have such a problem with this when you've just given birth?" hmm)

So, I am now 25 and was invited to my first routine one. I was terrified. I went to my GP and asked for a sedative as I'd heard people can do this if they are phobic about these things. He gave me 3 diazepam to take the night before/as I woke up/just before the smear. They sat in my cupboard for 7 months before I booked! But on the advice of MNers I finally got it done.

When I booked it I told the receptionist that I was terrified and she put a note on my file. So the nurse knew straight away and talked me through it first. She showed me how to wiggle my hips a bit (it centres the cervix apparently and makes it easier to find!) and used a disposable plastic thing rather than the metal one I had for my first one. I barely felt it. It was over in seconds and I was like "was that it?!"

A friend of mine had a hysterectomy in the end due to repeated abnormal cells which were precancerous. She had no symptoms. What would happen if she hadn't had a smear?

Please please just do it. I say again - if I can do it you can too.

bagofholly Thu 11-Oct-12 10:26:54

How do you get it then, if you've only had the same sexual partner? Virgins and nuns who joined up young, don't get it.

ZombTEE Thu 11-Oct-12 10:28:19

I don't know bag. But I know she did.

Also, it's not just to detect cancer. There can be other abnormalities.

It should be part of every woman's health routine.

SomersetONeil Thu 11-Oct-12 10:30:18

It's really nothing to do with the number of partners you've had, you know.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Oct-12 10:32:23

they use a brush to get the cells from the cervix, so no erosian possible

StuntNun Thu 11-Oct-12 10:33:17

Sorry but you just have to face up to it and get it done. Tell the nurse that you're nervous and I'm sure she'll be very sympathetic and gentle with you. If you've ever had sex you need to have a smear test. They can find pre-cancerous cells and remove them years before they have a chance to develop into anything. I know the smear test isn't fun but it's only once very two years and it's infinitely preferable to getting cervical cancer.

DinosaursOnASpaceship Thu 11-Oct-12 10:39:12

There is a young woman on my Facebook in her late 20's, mother to four young children. Who has just died of cervical cancer.

My sister went for a routine smear and ender up having treatment for cancerous cells. She is in her early 20s

Have a read of the thread that's active at the moment about Cancer. It's called fuck this disease or something. It will break your heart.

Cancer doesn't care how old you are, how many partners you've had, whether you are black, white or anything inbetween. Cancer doesn't care if you are someone's sister, wife or mother, whether you are a good person or scum of the earth. It picks it's victims at random and is cruel, one in three people will get some sort of cancer, we should be doing everything we can to lower our odds of it picking us. Please go for your smear, it is a few minutes out of your day that could save your life.

thing1andthing2 Thu 11-Oct-12 10:41:17

Hpv is only one cause of cervical cancer. There can be random mutations in the cell that cause cancer for no reason at all. Like people who've never smoked can get lung cancer. Virgins and nuns are certainly at lower risk of cervical cancer, but not at no risk at all.

Paradisefound Thu 11-Oct-12 10:41:29

Please don't put off having a smear. I had precancerous cells removed. Speak to your dr about your fear ... It's really common to feel the way you do... They can help you.

justmyview Thu 11-Oct-12 10:42:41

Another terrified one here. You're not alone. I like the idea of asking for a sedative. Let them know you're nervous. They'll be extra kind. I do find it painful (sorry, but I'm being honest with you) but only while they're actually putting the speculum inside. I promise it is all very quick and the moment they're finished I feel 100% fine and it's quite good to know it's all done and in the past by the time you leave the surgery

I'd suggest go in the morning to get it over with, rather than spend all day worrying about an afternoon appointment

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