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Do you need a smear test if you've never had sex?

(21 Posts)
RedPencilPot Wed 12-Feb-14 20:14:45

I've been reading the smear test thread on AIBU and it got me thinking (again) about my own horrific experience of my first smear test.

Should a doctor perform a smear test if you haven't had sex before?

Just wondering if anyone knows the answer to this?

AuntieStella Wed 12-Feb-14 20:21:47

Everyone gets called up by age because, although cervical cancer is vanishing rare in virgins, virginity is not recodred in medical notes but age is.

BettyOff Wed 12-Feb-14 20:23:11

Yes you do. Cervical cancer is very rare in virgins but some of the rarer types are not dependent on virginity and are more likely to affect young people.

shouldnthavesaid Wed 12-Feb-14 21:38:01

I was meaning to start a thread asking this. I've always been told you don't? I've never had sex and never had a smear, been taken off the list for medical reasons but GP has always said there's no way a virgin can get cervical cancer..

shouldnthavesaid Wed 12-Feb-14 21:41:06

GP said once I've had intercourse to let her know and she'll see that I get put on list for reminders..

NotCitrus Wed 12-Feb-14 21:47:13

Yes you should still get smears though the risk of the commonest cervical cancers is lower, as there is still a risk and smears can spot pre-cancerous changes.

Lesbians sometimes get told not to bother with smears but this is wrong too.

shouldnthavesaid Wed 12-Feb-14 21:54:28

Will discuss with GP when I see her next. Not sure if would cope with the smear as have vaginismus and haven't coped with similar before, but will see what she says. Probably better and easier to get it over with.

AlwaysOneMissing Wed 12-Feb-14 22:01:48

I was told that in 100% of cases of cervical cancer, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) was present upon testing. HPV comes to be in the cervix by being sexually transmitted. Therefore, if you are a virgin, there is no way that HPV can be present in the cervix, therefore no way that cervical cancer can form.
This was around 10 years ago though, so I don't know if that is still accurate.

ShadowFall Wed 12-Feb-14 22:05:23

This link http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/hpv-human-papillomavirus-vaccine.aspx copied from the other thread says that in 99% of cases, cervical cancer occurs as a result of a history of infection with high-risk types of HPV. (HPV being sexually transmitted)

So, that would suggest that 1% of cervical cancer cases have nothing at all to do with the patient having had sex.

Which in turn means that while your chances of getting cervical cancer if you're a virgin are much much lower, virgins can still get cervical cancer.

ShadowFall Wed 12-Feb-14 22:06:22

Hopefully a working link to the NHS page this time!

www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/hpv-human-papillomavirus-vaccine.aspx

eurochick Wed 12-Feb-14 22:10:17

Also you don't need to have had full sex to transmit hpv. Touching hpv bits and then your bits could transmit it.

shouldnthavesaid Wed 12-Feb-14 22:14:18

Ahh well I've never had any sexual contact at all.. So that rules that one out. I have had a quick google and most places say that you can develop cervical cancer as a virgin but very rarely. I don't have any of the other 'risk factors' they mention although have taken hormonal stuff on and off for a good eight years or so, and have got a pretty rubbish diet, but don't smoke or anything.

I have a coil fitted anyway and that desperately needs checking so the next time I pluck up the courage to have that checked I'll enquire about smear test and see what GP thinks.

BettyOff Thu 13-Feb-14 10:33:59

Shouldn't did you have the coil under anaesthetic? If not then having a smear is similar but much much quicker and less painful and a smaller speculum can be used. If you had it under GA you can ask to have a smear when it's changed.

shouldnthavesaid Thu 13-Feb-14 10:43:54

Yeah was done under anaesthetic. I think it's due a change in 2020 at the latest. I have tried speculum exams before for infections but have never coped without feeling horrible pain.

shouldnthavesaid Fri 14-Feb-14 16:22:58

Forgot to say.. I rang NHS Inform yesterday who said that they have had some rare cases of women developing cervical cancer without ever having had sex. The advisor wittered a bit about 'cells coming down from other places' .. So she said if I wanted one, I could have one, but would be my choice to weigh up the risks..

BettyOff Fri 14-Feb-14 16:31:13

Yep that's how I would always counsel someone, there's always a few people that opt out for various reasons. As long as you can understand the information and the risks and benefits and potential implications then it's completely up to you. You could go and speak to the GP about having one at some point and discuss whether to give it a go with either a very experienced practice nurse or at the family planning clinic (the doctors there do thousands) or even consider a referral to gynaecology, they would be able to use a virgin speculum (2 sizes smaller than standard), tons of lubrication and have someone there to hold your hand and talk to you. If you're happy to leave it for now but want to have one at some point in the future then you can always ask to have your coil changed after 5 years under GA again and have the smear then.

Sidge Fri 14-Feb-14 16:51:11

The risk of cervical changes in women who have never had sex is seen as low risk but not no risk.

HPV can be transmitted through digital penetration as well as oral sex.

WinterDrawsOff Fri 14-Feb-14 18:34:54

Glad to see NHS Inform is up to speed with the facts about cervical cancer shock

ClearlyMoo Sat 15-Feb-14 11:03:45

Interested in this post. Was a virgin til I married (age 34), and then got pregnant within 10 weeks. MW was shocked when I said I had never had a smear. GP's had always said I didn't need one and always put me on a "do not send smear reminder" list, apparently in an ideal world I'd have had a smear between becoming sexually active and TTC, ooops. Just hoping everything is ok, you can't have one when you're pregnant, but I'll have to have one in the future.

WinterDrawsOff Sat 15-Feb-14 11:35:48

ClearlyMoo - cervical cancer is rare. I wouldn't worry about having a smear until at least 6 months after your baby is born. You are offered the screening, but it is not compulsory, so you "don't have to have one". I'm glad that your GP refused to put you on the screening recall list.

Potterprincess Tue 11-Aug-15 10:34:19

I've never had any sexual relations at all but went to get my smear today as at 28 I wanted to get it done despite my doctor saying I didn't need it if I didn't want it. Unfortunately for me im not good with pain and couldn't even handle the pain of the spectrum thing getting put in. I was nearly crying it was that bad. My doctor said she didn't want to torture me and said she'd call for me in a year unless I become sexually active (highly doubt that as I'm invisible to the opposite sex) she also suggested that I try tampons to loosen me up a bit.

So yeah there's not much hope for me if I do ever meet a man....

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