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To ask how you cope with smear tests ?

(34 Posts)
Arctic50 Thu 03-Nov-16 00:06:05

Went for mine on Tuesday... was really nervous about it .I got one done, with difficulty,3 years ago but didn't manage the test today as I got nervous/upset when they started it .I know I need to get it done and feel like I should just pull myself together about it . It didn't help today as they were pretty brisk and unsympathetic. Any tips for when I next book it ?

9oclockinthemorning Thu 03-Nov-16 00:07:42

What's upsetting you so much about it?

Arctic50 Thu 03-Nov-16 00:09:24

Basically found it sore last time...

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 03-Nov-16 00:10:07

I add three years to my age (which always sounds ancient!) and spend the time visualising walking out of the room thinking "ha ha - don't have to do this again until I'm 39".

SpunBodgeSquarepants Thu 03-Nov-16 00:10:24

It's a few seconds of mild discomfort for three years of peace of mind.

BusyNothings Thu 03-Nov-16 00:10:50

They aren't pleasant I'll grant you that. I had my first earlier this year and due to an oddly shaped and tilted cervix I ended up having it done 4 times in a six month period because they couldn't get enough cells. I think if you get yourself wound up and stressed it will away she difficult. I tend to just take a deep breath and talk nonsense. Whatever comes to mind. Holiday, dogs, cars I think in my last one we even talked about eyebrow fashion. The nurses are good and cotton on and start chatting too and I just distract myself that way.

Arctic50 Thu 03-Nov-16 00:12:10

Mumoftwo.....that's a good tip

SinisterBumFacedCat Thu 03-Nov-16 00:13:16

Try and ask for a very experienced nurse, I always find they have a better knack for it. Push your bum down into the chair, wiggle your toes.

AmeliaJack Thu 03-Nov-16 00:16:11

Why not take a friend with you? Or your Mum/sister/DH?

Might help you relax.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 03-Nov-16 00:16:25

I've found what looks like some good advice

I think some practitioners try to avoid lube as it may give a less clear result, but it cant be worse than no test at all.

aliasjoey Thu 03-Nov-16 00:19:24

I once confessed my fears to a nurse, and it really helped when she explained exactly what was going on (knowledge is power, and all that)

She said the uncomfortable part is when the speculum is widened; however it doesn't go any wider than a penis (and definitely not wider than a baby coming down there!) so it shouldn't be more than an uncomfortable sensation.

The 'scraping' of the cervix itself is painless, as there are no nerve cells there. The word 'scraping' doesn't help, but relaxing the muscles and distractions do take your mind off it.

TotallyOuting Thu 03-Nov-16 00:19:50

I think some practitioners try to avoid lube as it may give a less clear result, but it cant be worse than no test at all.

The fact that it is debatable whether smear tests are necessarily better than no tests at all are the reason I haven't been back for a second. And my first wasn't particularly uncomfortable.

Coldhandscoldheart Thu 03-Nov-16 00:20:21

Are you able to go anywhere else for it? Im assuming you went yo your practice nurse, but often a sexual health clinic will do them too & are sometimes better and more sympathetic.

Rach168 Thu 03-Nov-16 00:22:05

If you find it painful tell them in advance and they can use a smaller speculum.

I have always found it extremely painful but last time the nurse used the smallest speculum they have (I think it's called the 'virgin speculum') - She said she couldn't guarantee that they would be able to get the sample with that size of speculum but that she would try it first. I found it slightly uncomfortable but nothing like my previous experiences and when it was done I said 'Is that it?' because I couldn't believe it had been that easy.

I go to a Contraception and Sexual Health Clinic (CASH) at a hospital as I think they have more experience of this kind of thing than the nurse at my local GPs.

steff13 Thu 03-Nov-16 00:27:06

I've had one every year since I was 18. My doctor is very experienced, and he explains what he's doing the whole time, but also talks to me about other things, too. After caring for me through three pregnancies plus all my annual exams, he knows me pretty well.

What I do is make a day of it. I schedule my visit first thing in the morning, I take a personal day from work, then I schedule a fun appointment afterward - a haircut/color, a pedicure, etc., then have lunch somewhere nice and relax the rest of the day. It sounds silly, but thinking of it a treat myself day where I have to do something mildly unpleasant first makes it easier to relax during the appointment.

Realistically, I don't think of them as a big deal anymore, but I do like to treat myself. smile

JellyBelli Thu 03-Nov-16 00:27:42

Just do it. like going to the dentist and getting it over with. I always feel nauseous and need to sit down for 10 minutes afterwards. My GP does it and she is brilliant but uses waaay too much jelly.

Arctic50 Thu 03-Nov-16 00:35:47

Thanks for all the great tips .Think next time I'll take someone with me and treat myself afterwards, as suggested above. Also may try a sexual health clinic next time to see if they're more sympathetic..

OhTheRoses Thu 03-Nov-16 00:35:51

I have a tilted tucked away cervix. Have bled before now, have had inadequate tests because they haven't been able to get enough cells, etc. The words iterated at several decibels "it's not my fault tho hurts, it's your cervix and would hurt less if you'd relax more" by a potential stat of Prisoner Cell Block H don't help frankly. So much so I paid for about ten years. Odd how a male gynaecologist can be so much more sensitive about it.

Changed Drs recently and the smear word was mentioned. Said I wasn't prepared to let a nurse loose on me and explained why. Lovely lady said let's give it a go. Said "ooh it is tucked away, you ok? Oh good all done. Didn't feel a thing. All clear. Now why can't a practice nurse be more understanding - esp when they do them all the time?

TheWoodlander Thu 03-Nov-16 00:36:15

I just get through it. I've heard some people take a painkiller an hour before the appointment.

Lovely bath session before I go, wear a skirt or dress so I can instantly be covered up, lie down and stare at the ceiling while it's being done. It's uncomfortable, but then it's over.

The things we women go through, though hmm

Evilstepmum01 Thu 03-Nov-16 00:36:28

I was going to say ask for a smaller speculum!

Best tip ever-when you lie down, make a fist out of both your hands and place fists under your buttocks. This pushes your hips up and 'presents' your cervix in the perfect position for smearing!

The nurse at our health centre told me that-I've been doing it ever since-bloody brilliant! It does pay to have it done-7 years ago, mine came back abnormal, had to have cells lasered. Had yearly smears since, this is the best position for them.

Its nae fun, but it has to be done!

P.S, I always ask for that nurse now! she's awesome! (met her in the pub once and went 'hey, smear nurse!) hmm

IceAuntie Thu 03-Nov-16 00:59:21

I'm totally with woodlander pampering before hand so I feel calm and looking my best and a skirt so I don't feel vulnerable during. I'm always nervous and feeling body confident helps.
Oh and make sure you have a light flow pad/panty liner for afterwards in case of spotting.
My first test was the worst, I had a stand in nurse who talked very loudly behind the reception desk about what she was about to do so the whole waiting room could hear, then proceeded out of reception and called my name, I went bright red, I then had to walk the length of the waiting room, it was like I could feel people staringblush. I remember nothing of the test itself. I've had it done twice more since then and I'm always terrified before hand but afterwards I wonder what the big deal was, a little discomfort and it's done.
Good luck X

oldlaundbooth Thu 03-Nov-16 01:07:28

Make sure you flop your knees apart as wide as possible.

And imagine yourself on a Caribbean beach.

SplendidPanda Thu 03-Nov-16 01:07:29

I once had a nurse who said she had all her patients insert the speculum themselves - I thought that was a bit weird but it was actually really helpful and if I felt comfortable to I'd ask others to let me do it myself again.

Pallisers Thu 03-Nov-16 01:11:11

I do really deep breathing and try to disassociate myself a bit.

My annual smears also include finger up my anus (is that the same in the UK?). The first time the doctor said to me "and now I'll just do a rectal exam" I scooted up the bed and said "no you won't" without even thinking. But now I can tolerate even that. Can't say it is my favourite day of the year though.

NovemberInDailyFailLand Thu 03-Nov-16 01:24:43

I detach from the situation and imagine the scene when I meet Rufus Sewell for our romantic fantasy date smile

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