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To be scared about getting called in for a smear test?

(16 Posts)
QueenOfTheStrawberries Thu 01-Jan-15 20:22:19

Yes I realise how important they are and that they save lives and that they only take a few minutes...but as it gets closer I just feel more and more terrified about having one.

I actually don't turn 25 until next February so obviously I have a while to go yet but I'm sure it will be here soon enough and then what...?

I have a phobia of medical procedures anyway thanks to issues with past abuse. Combined with the fact I have been raped, the thought of having someone prodding down there is just terrifying...even the thought of having it done is upsetting and triggering and makes me want to cry.

There must be a way to deal with this though, I just don't know what it is.

MrsMaker83 Thu 01-Jan-15 20:30:18

I have no idea how to deal with the fear, perhaps ask to speak with whoever will perform the procedure beforehand to answer any questions and address any worries?

Just wanted to try to reassure you that it really isn't as awful as it is sometimes made out to be. Literally takes a minute or 2, slight discomfort and NO pain.

It is kept as dignified as possible too. You will be asked to go behind a screen to undress your lower half, lie on the bed then cover your tummy and pelvic area with a sheet, and let the nurse know when you are ready. I wore a dress so i could lift it up and just remove tights and knickers.

I had my first at 24 years old and not long after a very traumatic birth, and it was a walk in the park compared to that!

WineWineWine Thu 01-Jan-15 20:36:10

Please talk to the nurse about your concerns. I've always found them to be lovely and supportive. You could have someone with you if you wanted too.
The procedure is over very quickly and is so important.

ConfusedInBath Thu 01-Jan-15 20:36:13

I'm sorry about the awful things that have happened to you.
Could you speak to a nurse about what has happened and your feelings regarding having a smear?

RevoltingPeasant Thu 01-Jan-15 21:45:24

OP I feel similarly to you, and the thing that helps me is to think this is not compulsory.

That is, you don't have to. It's not about getting "called in" like you're going to the headmistress's office, and if you want to not make that appointment, you can choose not to.

I find this a very important attitude to have, because then, when I have an intimate procedure like this, it is my choice. It is not someone else prodding me or doing something to me. It is me making a decision to have a medical procedure done because I think it is good for me.

A lot of people will try to guilt trio you about smears. Don't let them, and don't feel coerced.

Also, people often don't get that it's not "just a minute" if you are worrying about it beforehand and/or if it sparks traumatic memories or dreams or thoughts afterwards.

Personally I think the fear (for me anyhow) is about feeling out of control. So maybe make this a positive decision you take. Don't wait to be called in, make the appt yourself. Proactively tell the nurse or GP that you are worried and what might make you feel better. And if you can't cope when it starts, in your head reserve the right to tell them to stop. They will, and that's your choice too.

I hope that helps, although individual experiences and feelings are so different that it's hard to say smile

RevoltingPeasant Thu 01-Jan-15 21:49:54

OP also remember that your HCP may suggest things to you that are designed to help but you might not like. You can also say no to that stuff.

For example, as a PP mentioned you are often given a sheet to cover up with. I don't use it and I am quite firm about this, because for me, I need to be able to see what is going on.

That's just an e.g., but they for instance offer you a mild sedative. How would you feel about that? Again personally I like to retain control so wouldn't want it, but you might find it helps.

NobodyLivesHere Thu 01-Jan-15 22:11:01

Could you go in and speak to your GP about it now? After sexual assault it's understandable you are nervous about it all. A sympathetic GP might be able to recommend some counselling or other methods on how to deal with it.

BastardGoDarkly Thu 01-Jan-15 22:14:41

Great posts Pheasant

<<hand squeeze>> for Queen

Bulbasaur Thu 01-Jan-15 22:16:51

You can request a female to do the exam, and depending on who you go to, you can take a friend or support into the room with you while you get it done. I've been at places that won't let DH in with me, and I've been to places while him and OBGYN talk while she pokes around, which is a good distraction.

As others have said, it's not mandatory. To me personally, it's a useless waste of time because my cells always come back inconclusive or the swab didn't get enough of them. I have never gotten a test result because no nurse has managed to get enough cells to get a reading, though they certainly get enough blood from it. hmm

If you're really uncomfortable about it, then keep an eye out for any sudden changes like irregular bleeding, weird discharge, stuff like that.

Keep in mind, you can get a smaller speculum than the basic size so it barely feels like a tampon is in there. It feels nothing like sex. It feels more like inserting a tampon when they put in the speculum because it goes in and stays in place. The little swabs and brushes feel more like someone poking and prodding. Smears are a unique feeling in and of themselves. I don't know if that helps or not, but it might help create a distinction between the two in your brain.

But again, it's not mandatory. Smears are good to do, but they don't do much for low risk women.

Annbag Thu 01-Jan-15 22:18:08

A few ideas that might help on a practical level:
You could have someone accompany you
Wear a skirt, that way you can leave it on and not get fully undressed
Make an appointment with the nurse beforehand so they are familiar to you

Of course, you don't have to go, it's entirely your choice. You also make your own appointment (as you need to be mid cycle) so you won't be summoned in on a particular date, so you have control of that aspect

Hope this helps a little

BatteryPoweredHen Thu 01-Jan-15 22:25:01

You can now have a urine test to see if you have any of the high risk (cancer causing) strains of HPV - you Will probably have to go private though.

It is these strains of HPV that might cause abnormal cells which might lead to cancer.

If you have this info about your HPV status, you can make an informed choice about whether to have a smear test. If you test negative, there really is no point. Also, it is worth remembering that the NHS would need to screen 1000 women for 35 years to prevent one death from cervical cancer. It's pretty rare.

QueenOfTheStrawberries Thu 01-Jan-15 22:45:07

Aw Revolting that's really reassuring, thanks.

I guess I'm feeling kind of silly because the attitude on here does seem to be "get on with it" (see the other thread that's running right now on smear tests). It's not always that easy.

Annbag Thu 01-Jan-15 22:52:52

I haven't seen the other thread but a lot of people don't go for various screenings as they are a bit embarrassed or don't fancy it. You have very valid reasons for feeling anxious about it and I doubt many people will have thought about those reasons unless they've been through it themselves.

Sn00p4d Thu 01-Jan-15 23:42:13

Ive been having them since I was 20, standard in scotland I think, and can understand your concerns having been through similar.
I've always had the same nurse do them, we have a good relationship and that helps. I don't find them at all painful right enough.
I've recently had to give loads of swabs due to complications in my pregnancy and she lets me do them myself now. That's maybe the exception but agree with pp I'd talk to your nurse/doctor beforehand and see what they can do to make it easier for you

skittycat Thu 01-Jan-15 23:53:24

I would definitely make an appointment to talk it through with the person who is going to be doing the procedure. I had my first one last year and booked a double length appointment so that the nurse could go through exactly what was going to happen, and so that I was a bit more familiar with her. She was very reassuring and explained that at any point if I wasn't comfortable with what she was doing then to tell her and she would immediately stop.

At the end of the day, no one can force you into one, but being comfortable with the person who is going to be doing it will help a lot!

Babiecakes11 Fri 02-Jan-15 00:08:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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