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Smear test worries(7 Posts)
Posting here because I'm getting myself ridiculously worked up about this and could do with some advice. Sorry, it might be long.
When I was about 20 I started getting pain during sex and bleeding between periods which eventually escalated to the point where I couldn't get anything up there without it hurting. On two occasions I had some bleeding afterwards.
A few GP and hospital appointments later I was told it was basically psychological and to get some dilators.
I was really worried and ended up having a smear test done. I explained to the Dr who did it that I thought I needed it for my peace of mind, that if I needed to relax to stop the pain then I needed to know nothing was seriously wrong. That Dr told me my cervix looked fine and the results were normal.
I've now been sent a letter for my first 'official' cervical screening now I'm 25. The leaflet explaining that it's not a test for cancer and if you have symptoms (like bleeding between periods, pain during sex) to see you GP and possibly have a cervical cancer test.
I haven't had any abnormal bleeding now but we still haven't got to the point where we can have sex. Every time we get close something seems to happen and now I've got myself worked up about this smear.
So, a smear isn't a test for cancer but if my results came back normal I was fine then? I think that's what's worrying me, the idea that I had the wrong test.
That sounds so stupid now I've written it down!
Meant to add, when I say 'basically psychological' I mean it was diagnosed with vaginismus but that the gynaecologist thought something physical had started it.
I've had various bits of advice including 'get a bit drunk' from the Dr who did my smear!
I'd also be really grateful if anyone has any tips for surviving the smear itself. I'm not great with them.
Your diagnosis was right- it's vaginismus.
My understanding is that this can have a physical origin and then the psychological side factors in later for some women.
So in your experience you had pain which made you clench your muscles around the vagina and then this became an involuntary action.
The pain you had could be endometriosis so have they assessed you for that?
The smear tests isn't in theory a cancer test but it's to test for pre-cancerous changes.
Try to get the idea of 'surviving' a smear test out of your head. The whole thing takes about 2 minutes, so anyone can live with that!
You won't need telling this but the most important thing it to relax and not see it as a big deal. Tell the nurse or dr that you have vaginismus and that you need them to be gentle.
I do think though that you need some help if you are unable to have sex because of this condition. One type of treatment is to use dilators so you get used to having something in there. I suppose you could improvise with an applicator tampon at home just to get used to the feeling?
How do you get on with foreplay? Are you happy to have fingers etc used on you?
Thanks. I haven't been assessed for endometriosis. The first examination I had when I was bleeding between periods showed I had a slight cervical erosion and thrush, the gynaecologist I saw suggested this might be the reason for the initial pain since they hadn't found anything else wrong with me.
I've got dilators which I think I'm finally getting somewhere with. It was suggested I leave them in for 2 hours a day but whereas I can insert one of them comfortably, I can't move around or sit down without it hurting so that is difficult.
I had got to the point where even a finger hurt. Obviously it all built up to the point where I didn't enjoy foreplay or sex at all and we had to get round that barrier first. I think I could be happy to have a finger used on me now but we have been focussing on the dilators.
Thanks again, I'll try to relax about the smear. My partners coming in with me and I already feel a lot happier about it!
You are expected to leave a dilator in for 2 hours? OMG! I thought they were used just to get used to penetration.
Are you sure that was what they said?
I'd feel an idiot with someone in with me when having a smear- but best of luck if that is what you want!
The 2 hour thing was from a Dr online so I haven't done it but will try and discuss with my GP. It seems a bit crazy to me but so did getting drunk and having sex.
I know it's me getting worried setting me back too. We're getting somewhere, then someone posts one of those 'I had symptoms but was too younger for a smear and now I'm terminally ill stories' on Facebook and I panic thinking I had those symptoms.
I think I'd have felt like an idiot before but he's been with me through so many gynaecology things that I'm immune to feeling daft while he sits there and a stranger looks at my bits! Thank you.
The 2 hr thing might be more for women who have vaginal atrophy - that means it's all shrunk- and that would be a way of trying to expand it. I don't think that is what you described for you.
Maybe your dr can refer you for CBT or hypnosis or something to tackle your anxiety?
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