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Smear tomorrow and I'm nervous as hell

(50 Posts)
NotMeNo Mon 19-Sep-16 20:10:15

I've not had a smear for years and years due to severe anxiety about internal examinations.

I've had three babies and even in labour I really struggled to let the midwives examine me. I don't know why, but I just have a really strong mental block and I find it really physically hard to 'allow' people to do that to me. Like, I almost can't open my legs because I'm so embarrassed or something. Then once they're inside me, I have a really strong urge to move away from them. ARGH.

The last smear I had really hurt and I've built it up in my mind that it's this awful thing and I won't be able to do it.

So, anyway, I've plucked up the courage to do it but now I need some tips on how to handle this, short of turning up pissed on brandy...


YouBoggleMyMind Mon 19-Sep-16 20:17:04

Hi notme, don't panic. Nothing the nurse hasn't seen before. Also, please tell her that you're nervous. She can talk you through it, one step at a time. It doesn't hurt, at most just uncomfortable. Deep breaths and try to relax, the more you tense, the more uncomfortable it'll be. I wish you the best of luck xxxx

Wonderflonium Mon 19-Sep-16 20:19:37

Let them know you hate examinations this much, they have some good techniques to put you at your ease. Bring headphones and music so you can listen to something nice. I also like long socks because I feel less exposed.

You should be proud of yourself though, you hate these bloody things so much but you're powering through and getting one.

The brandy idea might not be a bad idea... not as in "get drunk" but maybe the doc can give you something? Either something for the pain or something for the anxiety.

Smears are no fun at all and I usually find them painful and uncomfortable, but they're do-able. You WILL be able to do it.

Pro tip: if it's someone else taking your history (for example, you talk to a nurse and get examined by a doc), be sure to repeat these important points to the second person. They don't read the notes, god knows why they make the first person go through the charade!

dementedpixie Mon 19-Sep-16 20:20:59

I had mine last week and it wasn't even uncomfortable. Deep relaxing breaths may help. If you are really anxious your GP could maybe prescribe something to help you relax

JudgeEpantz Mon 19-Sep-16 20:24:52

Explain your situation and the nurse might use a smaller instrument. They are also plastic not metal so slightly less horrible (relatively speaking) . Totally get your feelings.

DubiousCredentials Mon 19-Sep-16 20:25:21

I have recently had mine - been putting it off but was shock when the nurse said my last one was 2002! I had no idea I had been putting it off for so long. In fact the only reason I got round to doing it was that I found a lump on my cervix. Just a cyst thankfully but it put the absolute fear of God into me.

Smear came back clear too.

You are braver than me for booking yours without a health scare to prompt you. It will be fine.

NotMeNo Mon 19-Sep-16 20:26:08

thanks for the support guys.

Another reason for my anxiety is that the nurse at my practice is really abrupt. She actually phoned me up to have a go at me for not going for a smear. The call went like this:

me: hi
nurse: I'm phoning to ask why you've not been for a smear...
me: Oh I'm sorry I can't talk right now, can I call back? (I was with DCs and MIL)
nurse: NotMeNo, this is RIDICULOUS, you're 40 years old and you've not been for a smear for X years!!

She didn't bother finding out why, just laid in to me, with me unable to talk because I wasn't in private. I'm really nervous that she's going to be unsympathetic and I'll clam up, so to speak blush

YouBoggleMyMind Mon 19-Sep-16 20:30:41

The nurse was rude and had no right to speak to you like that. Can you ask for someone with better bedside manner?

NotMeNo Mon 19-Sep-16 20:32:09

how do they do it these days, will it have changed since my last one? It felt like some kind of gouger last time...

Passthecake30 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:34:54

I had one last week. She rinsed a plastic Jobby under the tap and then had to wiggle it around to get it in the right place. Not a very comfortable feeling at all, but I stared at the ceiling and tried my best to zone out, in about a minute it was over.

Purplebluebird Mon 19-Sep-16 20:37:29

I am terrified of those things too, especially after birth of my son. The checks during labour was horrible, horrible. HOWEVER - I went for a smear, and I was so scared.... But it was fine! It was a tiny soft rubbery stick, nurse had a little sweep and it was done. The worst bit was the cold speculum(?) device thingy they use to open up with. It was very cold! It felt a bit uncomfortable, but wasn't painful at all.

I am now waiting for have a coil put in, so am terrified for this! :P Sigh.

dementedpixie Mon 19-Sep-16 20:39:03

I'm sure the nurse used a plastic speculum and it's a little brush thing they use to collect cells. Maybe the nurse was gentle but I didn't feel any discomfort.

Wonderflonium Mon 19-Sep-16 20:40:56

Oh, FUCK that nurse! Don't let her anywhere near you and let her know exactly why.

NotMeNo Mon 19-Sep-16 20:43:10

ok, it won't be as bad as labour internals will it?

gah, I feel sick and close to tears and I've got another 12 hours to wait...

5buttons Mon 19-Sep-16 20:43:31

Was really tense last time and nurse said she couldn't do it, told me off and rescheduled appointment with doctor. I brought some Bachs Rescue Remedy with me for app with doc, guzzled that and who experience was much better. Good luck with the nerves.

smarterthanhim Mon 19-Sep-16 20:44:31

Your nurse was incredibly rude and unprofessional. I'd not go near her with a bargepole. I'd report her. No respect for patient autonomy.

dementedpixie Mon 19-Sep-16 20:45:10

No it's not as bad as labour internals as they are not sticking any hands up there. The speculum helps them see the cervix and the brush just gently sweeps some cells away from it

SnakeWitch Mon 19-Sep-16 20:45:20

I like to rattle on about the most mundane thing I can think of, usually the weather, and block it out. Last time the nurse was telling me all about a fashion show she'd been in! That was kind of odd. Hope it goes OK, just think that knowing you have a healthy cervix is worth a couple of minutes discomfort smile

DustOffYourHighestHopes Mon 19-Sep-16 20:47:00

I have this same problem.

Get another nurse, it does make a difference.

I cry. And cry. The horrid nurses tut, the others are kind.

What I think is: I'll have to put up with SO much more pain if I had cervical cancer plus would never see my kids again. I repeat this in my head while crying...

smarterthanhim Mon 19-Sep-16 20:47:33

Srsly, you're an intelligent adult, not a naughty child. I'm not surprised you don't want to go. I struggle with smears as I was abused as a child and he used 'tools' so, well, you can imagine. Nurses have been incredibly good with me, as they should with everyone, for whatever reason theybare fearful.

FreddyFireflyCanFeckOff Mon 19-Sep-16 20:50:55

Put in a complaint about that nurse. Ask to see another one.
Practice slow breathing during the procedure.
Keep telling yourself it will be over soon.

wayway13 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:51:01

I was always really chilled out about smear tests - I'd just flop my legs open and talk about the weather. Then I had a bad labour and was terrified to go back. I was in a total state about being examined again and was borderline hyperventilating at the thought. It turned out to not be that bad. Definitely tell the nurse how you are feeling. Mine was lovely and really put me at ease. Your nurse sounds awful though - is there someone else you can see?

NotMeNo Mon 19-Sep-16 20:54:25

flowers for you smarterthanhim I can't imagine how much more difficult it is for someone whose had that happen to them.

I don't have any kind of reason for my fear, other than anxiety. I've gradually got control of my generalised anxiety in most areas of my life, but this one remains. I'm generally a bit phobic about any kind of medical (or dental) intervention.

sadie9 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:55:05

I took two paracetamol half an hour before I went to mine last time couple of weeks ago.
Felt close to nothing. It was absolutely nothing like an internal, no bumping, no prodding or hurting or anything. And it was over in less than 1 minute, I am not joking. She was very efficient and not for chatting much, it was done before I knew it, literally.
I'd happily go for a smear test any day before I'd have my eyebrows plucked - now that's effing painful.
You could try a distraction technique like clenching and unclenching your hands for a count of 1 to 10. Then start again at 1. But it'll probably be over before you even get a chance to start again at 1.

Gwenhwyfar Mon 19-Sep-16 20:56:43

It doesn't have to be the practice nurse. I think you can ask your GP to do it or ask for one of the female GPs.

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