Hello hello! Today I wanted to address a topic that affects each of us women once we hit the grand old age of 25: the dreaded smear test.
First off I want to say that it really does not have to be something really negative, no it’s never going to be something fun but there are a few things you can do to make the experience much more pleasant. Here is my 5 top tips for surviving your smear test.
If you’ve got work the same day as your planned smear test, try to make sure that this is the last thing you do that day. After my first smear, the last thing I wanted to do was go into work but luckily mine was scheduled for the end of the day so I could go straight home afterwards. My advice is to ensure you clock off early enough to be able to go home and shower before your appointment so you can feel as clean as possible and that’s one less thing for you to worry about. Failing this, take some feminine products to work with you to freshen up before your test.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
This is a super important one if you, like me, are the kind of person who feels more in control of whatever situation the more knowledge you have. I Googled everything and anything to do with smear tests before mine so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. If I’d stress the importance of anything, it’s to research what to expect when your results come through because it’s super easy to get an abnormal result through the post and immediately start thinking the worst and causing yourself undue stress. Getting an abnormal result is horrid, I know, I received it for my very first smear and even though I’d done my research on what to expect if such results came through, it STILL hit me like a bus and I cried a lot. Even though I knew it was extremely unlikely that the abnormality was cancer, it was still a really upsetting time, had I not of done by research prior to the test, I probably would have been a million times worse.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
You’ve just had a complete stranger doing a close up inspection of your lady business, it’s ok to feel a bit meh. There’s a thing called personal space and we all (or at least most of us) respect each other’s personal space on a daily basis, so when someone has to go not only into our personal space, but REALLY into our personal space, it’s totally ok to feel a bit bleurgh with the world. So be kind to yourself and know that whatever you are feeling is completely fine, if you’re nervous that’s fine, if you cry that’s also fine. Don’t beat yourself up about however you react because it’s an alien situation for all of us and sometimes that means provoking all sorts of unusual emotions. When I had my first, honestly I just wanted the ground to swallow me up and I was desperate for it to be over – I remember nervously rambling to the nurse about how it must be so much more embarrassing for the men getting such intimate examinations done because she was a female practitioner. Now I look back I think why was I babbling on about that? But whatever, such silly comments were obviously what got me through the experience so I’ve forgiven myself for it. In the end I was fine and you will be too.
REMEMBER IT’S SOMETHING YOUR NURSE SEES EVERYDAY
This was the main thing that got me through the sheer embarrassment of getting pretty much naked with a total stranger. Although, if I’m honest, it really wasn’t as embarrassing as I thought it would be (although I was definitely blushing a little!). Before I got there though, I just kept thinking to myself that she has seen this a million times before and has probably seen worse (and really she’s in for a treat if you turn up all showered with fresh clothes – lol!).
PLAN SOMETHING FUN
There is no denying that this will probably go down as one of your least favourite experiences, so why not plan something to do afterwards for you to look forward to? Even if your plans only involve a nice bath, a movie and a pizza, do something for you that will brighten your spirits and give yourself some self-lovin’ time. You got through your smear test, you deserve it woman!
STILL NOT CONVINCED?
If you’ve read through this list and you’re still stressing or feeling nervous, follow my tips to better the experience and know that it will be over very soon! I was in and out within 10 minutes maximum and it’s really worth those few minutes of embarrassment for a couple of years peace of mind. I’ve met quite a few women who haven’t gone for their smear test because they’re too embarrassed or haven’t prioritised it for whatever reason but I can’t tell you enough how important it is. I got an abnormal result aged 24 from my first smear and I shudder to think how things may have turned out had I not of been proactive and made myself go when I did – I’ll be writing about this experience shortly so keep your eyes peeled. So please please don’t bury your head in the sand when that gloomy letter comes through the post, it’s not as bad as you think and it’s an excuse to give yourself a lovely pampering afterwards!