My Smear Experience

My Smear ExperienceI know for some this will be majorly TMI but I trust that those people wouldn’t have clicked on the post or at very least as they’re reading that yes, this is in fact going to be about cervical smears that they will make their exit now. It’s not something people talk about but it could save your life.. we SHOULD be talking about it. When people say ‘you should go for a smear’ it conjures all kinds of images in your head, legs akimbo and major embarrassment so I thought I’d share my personal experience for those who might be nervous.. it’s not the most dignified thing you’ll ever do but it’s probably not the least either πŸ˜‰

I only recently (as recently as last weekend) went for my first smear, my Mother (who screens them for a living) has been hounding me for years so it’s shameful that I put it off for so long BUT I had a reason. I first got my invitation when I was pregnant with Milo, I called the clinic and informed them I wasn’t able to attend and they said they’d make a note on my file to follow up after the birth. I then received 3 further ‘invitations’, each more menacing than the last.. they actually got quite threatening (as the NHS goes) and given my irrational delicate emotional state it made me want to throw a chair at someone quite angry and just totally put me off the whole thing.

When you’re going in for something a bit intimate you want to feel comfortable and if you’re on the fence even the person on the phone when you call for an appointment can push you the wrong way. Now I didn’t put it off because I was nervous or shy but because it’s so damned awkward to get time during the week (doctors office hours) without one or both kids in tow and BELIEVE me when I say they do NOT need to see THAT! I discovered that my local family planning clinic was open on a Saturday for drop in appointments so turned up first thing, no waiting, straight in. Dunzo! I would 100% recommend your local family planning clinic over your GP for ANY ‘womens issues’ purely because it’s what they do day in day out and if we’re talking about something a bit more invasive I want someone who knows what they’re doing!! Of course knowledge and experience don’t always come in a super friendly package however, I’ve had exams from nurses who barely said two words to me but then some people might like that. I’d rather have some light conversation with a person before they enter me with a foreign object but hey.. that’s just me.

So when I rocked up on Saturday morning I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, I was lucky and the nurse was lovely, EXTREMELY helpful and forthcoming with lots of advice and info on what would happen not only during the exam but once the sample was sent to the lab. She told me what to expect in terms of how long for results but also prepared me for the eventuality in which the result may not be what I was expecting. Given that my Mum IS the lab I knew a lot of it anyway but was pleasantly surprised at how far she went to put me at ease without me having to ask a single question. Now in the past I actually had the contraceptive coil (mirena for those wondering) so I’m all too familiar with the speculum and internal inspections of this kind, FYI – if any of you have ever had ‘swabs’ taken and are nervous to go for a smear – it’s pretty much the same thing so you needn’t be. For me the most uncomfortable part is the insertion of the speculum (if you’re drawing a blank here’s google images – you get the idea) but it’s not at all painful. Not to be crude but unless you’re a virgin this wont be a totally foreign concept it’s just a totally bizarre situation in which it’s happening and it’s ONLY uncomfortable if you can’t relax – ie: me. Have you ever tried to MAKE yourself relax? I swear to Lucifer it’s IMPOSSIBLE! Anyway.. so the speculum is in there and they can see what they need to see, from there they basically brush your cervix, imagine if you will that you’re cleaning a glass.. similar thing – they twist a little to get the sample cells and they’re done. That part is a really odd sensation but again not painful and apparently some people can’t even feel it – those people probably have painless child births too so whoopeedoo for them!

To recap with a TOUCH more detail for those who have NO idea what a pelvic exam involves, you’re clothed from the waist up and covered with paper towels to protect your modesty (you have NO modesty, this is clearly so you don’t make awkward eye contact with the person doing the exam), you bend your legs and ‘RELAX’ while they insert the speculum and adjust so that they have a clear shot at your cervix then they sweep a brush around for a second and your done. It’s quick and painless and you have almost as much control of your comfort as the nurse does, if you’re a naturally relaxed person you can probably take a nap but for the rest of us it’s an odd 5 minutes that isn’t the way we’d choose to spend our Saturday morning but that might just save our lives!

If you want to share your experiences (I know not everyone had a good one but we generally learn from the bad ones so pass on your wisdom) feel free and if you have any questions I didn’t cover already let me know and I’ll do a follow up. As is the minimum age for a smear test is 25 (controversial and I wont even get in to it but that’s the current law) but if you have symptoms or cause for concern your GP can refer you at any age so don’t let that stop you from attending if you feel like you need something checked out! You can find lots more info online here and I hope my experience and the limited info I have was useful for some.

Oh and you can find your local family planning clinic here

Miss BB

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78 Comments

  1. 9 February, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    As an “older” (43) woman I’ve had my fair share of smears. The starting age is a bit controversial but I understand that it’s because of cell changes that occur naturally as you get older (someone correct me if I’m wrong). One of my early smears came back with something “not normal” so I had it repeated and trust me, it was hard enough to build up the courage for the first one. When the second one came back as abnormal too, the NHS upped the anti and I was sent for a Colposcopy – this basically uses a laser (forgive me for any mistakes – it was a long time ago!) to remove the abnormal cells. This procedure wasn’t dis-similar to the smear but it’s carried out at the hospital with a doctor and nurses. I believe that it’s these abnormal cells that change with age, hence the testing being started that bit later. All I’ll say is that as uncomfortable as these procedures are (and Khila’s right – they’re undignified but not painful) they’re so worth it – what’s a little indignity when it could ultimately save your life. I’m lucky – I’m closer to coming out the other end than most of you probably are but I still go when called!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      9 February, 2015 / 8:18 pm

      Yes, you’re right about the cell changes being the reason for the starting age but with sexual activity commencing at younger and younger ages it’s scary to think what can happen in even the 9 legal years before being called for a smear! That’s why I stress that if you have symptoms you can absolutely go at a younger age! Thanks for sharing, even ‘not normal’ is not necessarily anything to worry about x

    • Gillian
      11 February, 2015 / 3:53 pm

      I had the same experience. I’m now 46 but I’m going back about 9-10 years ago now since I had the colcoscopy. I then had smears yearly for 3 years and they were all fine. Now I’m back to the every 3 years and the last one was fine. This screening isn’t exactly a fun day out but it’s so, so worth it when you realise that it could very well save your life.
      The nurse that did my last one was amazing and she advised me to clench my fists and place them thumbs up, under the small of my back to make it easier for her to see the cervix and more comfortable for me and I have to say it was the most comfortable smear I’ve ever had.
      Get them done ladies, it really is worth the few moments of blushing.

      • missbudgetbeauty
        13 February, 2015 / 6:24 pm

        very good advice, mine told me to push my bum against the ‘bed’ lol.. previously they’ve only offered ‘relax’ – yeah thanks πŸ˜‰

  2. Kimberly
    9 February, 2015 / 8:25 pm

    I can’t believe this was your 1st time! Maybe it’s bc I started having kids young- (way 2 young) I was married & having babies by17, but I’ve has my smears yearly ever since ,I don’t thnk about what’s going on down there at at time…don’t even want to ..the more u relax ur muscles the easier and the faster it’s over. It’s worth the few minutes of being uncomfortable remember : early detection is the key to our surving the worst!So glad u went threw with it,

    • missbudgetbeauty
      9 February, 2015 / 8:29 pm

      I was 19 when I had Ella but at that time the call up age was 21 and just before I got to 21 they raised it to 25 so I wasn’t called until 2011. Oh God it’s just nothing at all, if you’re comfortable getting your kit off in front of a stranger then the procedure is so minimal and quick but it’s the girls who haven’t been in that situation and are embarrassed that are harder to convince. I can tell you it wont hurt but I can’t tell you you wont be embarrassed, that’s all you! Having kids you become a bit desensitised to doctors ad nurses examining you lol.

  3. Molly
    9 February, 2015 / 8:38 pm

    Being only 21, i’m quite lucky to say I’ve already had 2 smear tests as I know some women are in their 40’s, if not older, and have never had one! My first one was when I was 19 and I had my second when I was 20 (I had problems with excessive bleeding and swollen pelvic glands – sorry if tmi)
    The experience was one I was definitely nervous about, however talking to my mum about it beforehand put my mind at ease.
    The speculum insertion is an odd one and as Khila said, it may feel unusual if you are a virgin. It is also a cold feeling as they apply a lubricant to the speculum to help insertion. The actual ‘smear’ only takes a few seconds and you’re pulling your pants back up much sooner than you think!
    It isn’t painful at all, it just feels a bit strange when they swab your cervix as many women haven’t given birth when they have their first smear so it is an unusual sensation, but nothing to be scared of! I would encourage all women to go and get their smear as soon as they are invited to, don’t put it off as you never know it could save your life!

  4. Rachel
    9 February, 2015 / 8:46 pm

    I had my first smear at the age of 25 after receiving the obligatory letter. That first one was a horrible experience and still makes my insides go funny if I think about it! Despite that not very nice experience, I went back and had my 2nd at 28 and was a lot better and completely painless, didn’t even know the nurse had done it!
    I know a lot of people who still haven’t had it done and I would always encourage them to get it done, the alternative is far worse!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 7:02 pm

      It’s all down to the person doing it, just like their are good and bad blood takers there are good and bad smear takers.. tough to take a bad one but chances are it will be fine

  5. Toni
    9 February, 2015 / 9:13 pm

    Brilliant post, I think talking about this is really important, especially from someone like you that can reach a lot of young women.

    I got the letter a couple of years ago to go for my first one and I was absolutely DREADING it, having never have experienced anything remotely like that before. The only reason I actually went in the end was that I knew I could never forgive myself if I hadn’t gone and later down the line found out I could have prevented something.

    The day came and honestly I do not know what I was worried about. Apart from waiting for the results (which were normal thankfully) there was absolutely nothing to it. Of course it is going to be a little embarrassing (though it was far less embarrassing that I had expected), especially as it was the first time I was showing my bits to someone like that, but the nurses have seen hundreds of ladies so it’s nothing to them. The actual procedure was over in a couple of minutes, much quicker than I had anticipated and the speculum IS a strange sensation in such a setting, but during the actual “smear” I barely felt a tickle!

    Really, ladies, what is a couple of minutes of embarrassment compared to the possible alternative? x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 7:01 pm

      Oh absolutely, a smear or.. EXACTLY! So not worth not going for the small amount of discomfort it is every 3 years! I’m so pleased so many of you have shared your own stories cause it’s one thing for 1 person (me) to but another for someone to come across this post and have 20 experiences to read through to reassure them

  6. Kim
    9 February, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    Thankyou so, so much for this. I’m just turning 25 and received the dreaded letter and leaflet not long ago. It’s not the ‘dignity’ bit I’m worried about, it’s the actual sensation/pain….. I’m just a big baby! Thanks for the family planning tip tho, I will definetly be going there instead of GPs xx

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 7:00 pm

      It’s just not worth worrying about. So quick, go first thing in the morning and you’ll be in and out before you know it

  7. 9 February, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    I think it’s great that you’ve shared this with your readers as its so, so important. I’m 33 and I’ve had several smears, plus two colposcopy examinations (like a more in depth examination with a microscope to actually look right at your cervix) and also one lot of treatment for CIN3 cells (so not cancer, but a very high level of abnormal cells). It’s not fun, but it’s flipping important. Initially I found the indignity of the smear test worse than the pain but by the time I’d had two or three I got over it. Now, whenever I have to go I just try and remind myself how lucky we are here in the UK to have a screening programme like this to catch anything before it becomes serious as many women in the world aren’t so lucky.

    I’m not sure if you read Stacey’s blog over at http://www.expatmakeupaddict.com but she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. Thank goodness, she is in remission now but had a hell of a time. She shared her story on her blog so worth a look for those who haven’t read it – both for that and her enviable makeup stash too!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:59 pm

      I don’t but a few people have linked to her post. Very informative and such an important subject to share with people, especially if you’ve been through all that she has!

  8. charlene
    9 February, 2015 / 9:50 pm

    I myself had my first smear test and 19 due to having thrush and iv never been so uncomfortable as having that speculum inside when all I wanted to do was scratch myself raw

    At 23 im not scared of my future smear tests but I atleast know what im in for next time

    I wasnt aware about the cell changes with age

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:58 pm

      I think Thrush has to be one of the worst things you can get that’s not actually serious. SO uncomfortable! I went to the doctors at a similar age with the same problem but bizarrely they never gave me a smear

  9. Terri
    9 February, 2015 / 9:52 pm

    Hi Khila

    Thanks for touching on a great and essential topic, i love your blog/channels/vlogs for all the fun stuff, shopping, make up etc but its nice of you to bring up such an impotant thing.
    The more people talk about this sort of stuff the more youger girls will see that it isnt such a taboo or embarassing thing and that its something everyone should be doing! The more awareness that is raised for this, the more lives that are saved so well done for doing your part!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:57 pm

      thank you! I would happily talk all day about ‘girl stuff’ but people find it really awkward.. we’ve all got the same parts, haven’t we? πŸ˜‰

  10. Emma-Louise Woods
    9 February, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    I’m 27, almost 28 and have yet to have one…I know it’s bad but I just can’t bring myself to have someone digging around down there. I know I’m low risk as there is no family history of cervical cancer and I’ve only slept with 1 man (now my husband), who was also a virgin before then (I know that doesn’t mean it’s not possible but definitely decreases my chances). I’ll be due another invite when I turn 28 in May and I am considering it. I must say though that having done some reading on it, the fact that there can be false positives and a lot of people have unnecessary treatment (because a lot of changes detected would actually go back to normal on their own) does really put me off, as well as the embarrassment. I hate going near a doctor never mind having something like that done so I just know I wouldn’t be able to relax. What with that and the fact that some doctors actually refuse it themselves, I’m still undecided x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      it’s so quick it’s not worth not going. I wasn’t aware any doctors refused.. it’s not like a vaccination, it’s like a blood test. I can understand someone refusing treatment if they didn’t agree with the diagnosis but you have to GET the diagnosis to decide whether you feel you need to proceed with the next step. There are people who reach 25 and are already at the point of no return with regard to cancerous cells so I can’t encourage you enough to just go and get it over with.

  11. 9 February, 2015 / 11:24 pm

    I had no idea there was an age restriction for you there! Here in the US I think the age is 18 and/or when you become sexually active (whichever comes first). My first was at 20 and it was the most awkward experience (I was still a virgin). But now after having a kid it feels like no big deal. Anyone can check me down there and I’m pretty much over it lol. I will say that I am sooo proud of you for going! And now you won’t have to worry about going back for a while!:) thanks for sharing your story! Lady parts health is no joke!!:)

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:53 pm

      although the official line is that pre 25 cells can change and it’s not an accurate result the real reason is money. Because we have the NHS it’s cost saving, anyone of any age can have one if they pay privately x

  12. Laura
    10 February, 2015 / 12:30 am

    firstly thank you Khila for talking about this subject which so many people find awkward and shy away from, I’ve had quite a few smears (i’m 31) due to having abnormal cells results most of the time. It wasn’t a great experience at any of them but you know what the nurses were always lovely, it was awkward chatter about the weather etc and boom. you’re done.
    The abnormal cells became a common occurance and I had a biopsy (same procedure & small amount of skin sent for testing – all fine & pain free) and now back to 2yr smears.
    I have never wanted to have them done but it could save your life and if you want to have kids a smear will seem like a breeze after all the examinations, poking and prodding that childbirst entails!
    I can only urge women to go and have it done, explain to the nurse/Dr that youre nervous and hopefully they will make it as quick and easy as they can. It’s not a day out shopping but it is a minor necessity!x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:52 pm

      yes, when you’re pregnant all dignity goes out the window, haha but a smear is a breeze and even the follows ups etc are nothing compared to the alternative!

  13. 10 February, 2015 / 12:40 am

    I’m so glad you decided to share your experience, it really irks me that we as women aren’t discussing this subject more openly and more frequently! Though I’m not old enough to have a smear test I have had experienced a similar procedure when I went for a sexual health check up. It really is nothing to be afraid of at all, it didn’t feel painful and the nurses and doctors were so nice and friendly which really put me at ease. There really is no need to feel embarrassed either, they’re professionals and have seen it all before!

    We all need to take control of our health, it’s better to know if there are any abnormalities sooner rather than later! Ignorance is definitely not bliss in this case.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:50 pm

      it’s the same as anything, we don’t want to talk about sex, periods, blah blah. It affects everyone but for some reason people want to keep theirs a secret lol.. like we’re not all doing the same thing, having the same exams, we’ve all got the same stuff.. why not talk about it and raise some awareness??!

  14. Katherine
    10 February, 2015 / 12:52 am

    I’ve had 2 coils now and a smear test now and I can confidently say that the smear test is by far the least uncomfortable. It may be a bit awkward but it’s realy not that bad. If you are bit embarrassed try and remember that the nurse has seen it all before. Thank you MissBB for writing about this topic and I’m with you on the family planning clinic it’s so much more convenient and you know they do them all the time.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:49 pm

      oh god the coil was the worst. I had an appointment to have one fitted again next week and totally changed my mind lol.. remembering the horror!!! haha. I’d definitely rather have a smear!!

  15. Laura
    10 February, 2015 / 1:57 am

    I received my ‘invite’ just before I turned 25 and just left it, my mum actually found the letter and booked the appointment for me! I was SO nervous but I was actually really surprised at how quick and painless it was! The nurse chatted to me the whole time, (turned out I used to work with her daughter!) and I didn’t feel awkward, nor was I in any discomfort. It’s no where near as bad as you think it will be! πŸ™‚

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:48 pm

      haha my mum would have done the same thing! x

  16. Sarah
    10 February, 2015 / 3:40 am

    Good on you for bringing this subject up! I had my first smear when I was 18. I was quite worried about it. My mum had told me that they put a metal thing up and cut a bit of you off (which was horrifying to me) so I was quite nervous about getting one done. After it happened, I was so relieved how quick and simple it was. It was nothing like my mum had said. Not sure why she said it..maybe to make me realise it isn’t so scary afterwards? But yeh, it’s so important and it is nowhere near as terrifying as you think. It’s more awkward if anything.

    -xx

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:48 pm

      oh Jesus!! why would she tell you that?? lol

  17. Katie Toal
    10 February, 2015 / 8:15 am

    This is a great post, really important. I had my first smear at 25 when I was called and I had abnormal cells which I had to have treatment for. Since then I’ve had them every 6 months. I went to yearly in August but I think I need one earlier as I’ve been having bleeding in between periods.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:47 pm

      and important to share that abnormal cells is nothing to worry about. Very common and easily treatable/something they just want to keep an eye on

  18. 10 February, 2015 / 8:23 am

    I had my second last week I’m 28 I don’t mind them at all never had a bad experience and once I think you’ve had a baby, a smear is nothing in comparison. It does help when the nurse is nice though I had a lovely one last week. I think the stories are a lot worse than the reality at my first one I was surprised how pain free it was from what you hear my sweep was a lot worse.

    Catherine x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:47 pm

      I think you become less shy during pregnancy for sure but both my kids were c-sections so nothing is any easier down there for having them πŸ™ lol

  19. amy
    10 February, 2015 / 10:26 am

    Hi, like your mum, I work in the Cervical Screening Programme and it’s great to see a post like this, informative and its normalises the smear experience for people so hopefully more will go and get it done when they’re called. I am only 23 so can’t comment any further but yay for awareness x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:45 pm

      yay! lol x

  20. 10 February, 2015 / 1:16 pm

    This is going to sound really bizarre but I am quite looking forward to getting my first one done and out of the way. The re-assurance that everything is okay down there is something that means a lot to me. I waited to lose my virginity just so that I could have the HPV vaccine, as I had to have it later than other people in my age group. I like planning for the future and not knowing what is going on inside me is a frightening concept to me; I am irregular in terms of my periods so I appreciate any kind of reassurance. Roll on 2 years and 3 months time when the smear letter comes through…!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:45 pm

      absolutely! There’s nothing in the world like a clean bill of health!

  21. Mrs A
    10 February, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    I urge anyone who hasn’t been for a smear to go, a friend of mine died age 17 from cervical cancer. No one is immune so you must go! It isn’t the most pleasant thing to do, but it is over in a jiffy and isn’t that uncomfortable. The worst thing is when you get chatting and find out that the nurse has a son at the school you teach at! Thank goodness for confidentiality!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:45 pm

      oh gosh, yes.. phew for that agreement lol. Must have been awful to lose your friend to that at such a young age but yes, goes to show it doesn’t care what age you are!

  22. Kate
    10 February, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    It is great to see posts like this! And you’re dead right, we should talk more openly about smear tests and how important they are. It is 5 minutes of being a little bit embarrassed that could save your life! We are so lucky to live in a time where cervical cancer can be prevented. I, like you got my first invite when I was pregnant. Then I put it off for a year or so after birth, life can get busy and it’s easy to say oh I’ll do it next week.
    So when my husband and I decided to try for another baby I figured I better get all my ducks in a row and go get my smear done. Honestly, the worst part was the waiting room! Just sitting there imagining what it was going to be like was so much worse than the actual test itself. It was so quick and the nurse was so lovely. I even said “is that it?” when she was done. I left there feeling proud of myself and kind of silly for putting it off for so long.
    Unfortunately I got a letter saying there were high grade abnormalities. That letter was scarier than a smear test! I had to go to the hospital for a colposcopy. It’s basically a more in depth smear and they put a camera microscope thing in as far as I know. There was a Screen beside me that I could watch if I wanted, but I didn’t feel the need to familiarise myself with my cervix in that way! The colposcopy confirmed that there were abnormalities. They had to take a biopsy. So they injected local anaesthetic into my cervix, this did not hurt either! You cough when it goes in and I didn’t feel a thing. The anaesthetic did give a rush of adrenaline that makes you shake and feel funny. That part was quiet unpleasant. But I didn’t feel the biopsy being taken. I had a small bit of bleeding after but other than that I was fine. After a few weeks I got a letter telling me the biopsy was abnormal and I would have to have treatment. The word treatment is scary, but it was preventative treatment. Which basically means if I had kept putting off my smear in years time I could have needed a different type of treatment.
    I was scared going in for the treatment but again the nurses were amazing and spoke to me the whole way through. There was anaesthetic again, but this time I was prepared for how it would make me feel. They preformed cold coagulation, which actually means they apply a heated ring to the cervix to burn away the abnormal cells. I did not feel this either.
    A couple of weeks ago I had to go back for a follow up colposcopy. It was over in a few minutes. The doctor sat me down and told mew that everything is back to normal and the treatment had gotten rid of all the abnormal cells. I skipped out of the hospital!
    I will never put off having a smear again. The system is in place for a reason, to detect changes and deal with them before it turns into something sinister. Sorry this was a bit long, but please, it is so important to go for your smear test!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:43 pm

      no, no.. it’s so important that we share these stories.. if someone is in the same position as you they might find your comment and get some comfort from hearing your story start to finish. There’s nothing scarier than health issues!

  23. Harriet
    10 February, 2015 / 3:27 pm

    I’ve had two smears now. Even before I had my first smear I’d been introduced to a speculum for a routine STI screening. I think the fact the nurse at that screening was so nice has really set my mind at rest when it comes to getting smear tests done.

    Both my smear tests were quick and easy. When it comes to medical professionals I swallow my pride and remind myself they’ve seen all sorts, so I don’t get too self-conscious about stripping off. My main concern is whether I fart during the procedure (although I’m sure they’re used to that too). Fortunately it hasn’t happened yet.

    My second smear was extra easy because I went in to have an IUD fitted (copper), and they noticed my smear was due so just did it at the same time. In the context of getting an IUD, a smear is nothing!

  24. Lauren
    10 February, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    I found this really interesting! For people who haven’t had a smear test before its worth a read. This would make you feel comfortable about going in for one! Thank you Miss BB πŸ™‚

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:41 pm

      I really hope it helps SOMEONE!

  25. 10 February, 2015 / 5:02 pm

    I’d put mine off for years and but I kept hearing stories of young women dying from cervical cancer and thought I’d better get it done. It was actually Laura’s story from Expat Makeup Addict that made me pick up the phone and make an appointment. The procedure is a little uncomfortable and not the most dignified but I’d rather put up with a bit of embarrassment than put my health at risk. If anyone hasn’t had one who should, please go and do it – whatever the results are, the sooner you find out the better x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:41 pm

      sometimes the stories make you want one even less.. ignorance is bliss and all that but it’s a screening test.. it’s there to PREVENT cancer before it becomes cancer.. get rid of anything that could cause you harm in the future! It’s scary to think you could go and already have a problem but the sooner you know the sooner you can deal with it

  26. Nikki S
    10 February, 2015 / 5:25 pm

    I literally love you for this post. Frank, relevant and slightly hilarious at certain points. Well done you for going (although tut tut for waiting so long!). I’ve been having them since I was 21. They’re not fun, but 100% necessary. I hope people’s awareness improves after reading about your experience. x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:40 pm

      it’s not a big deal and I was never worried about having it done.. if the nurse could turn up at my house and do it I’d have one once a week haha

  27. Emily
    10 February, 2015 / 6:02 pm

    This is a great post! Just one thing though, you can get a smear done at any age, it’s just a requirement to get it done from 25. Although some doctors do refuse to lets younger girls have them

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:39 pm

      that’s actually not true. A doctor/nurse can perform a smear at any age but unless you have been referred by your GP because of symptoms/concerns then it will be rejected at the lab so it’s totally pointless. I don’t agree with it but it’s current law

  28. Heather
    10 February, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    In Scotland the age is 20 for your first smear so at 23 i’ve already been for 2. I think i must be an odd ball though because the thought of them never bothered me, probably due to my mother being so relaxed and stressing the importance of them. It’s not something i “wanted” to do but i really have been in much more uncomfortable situations fully clothed! The one thing i do think though is they need to make young girls more aware of how important they are and what is actually involved, i have friends who put them off for months and months and one who was terrified to go because she was convinced they inserted fingers not a speculum!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:38 pm

      I guess it’s like blood tests.. if someone tells you you have to have them but you don’t want to then they’re awful but if you want them because you want a diagnosis then it’s a different story. If you think of a smear as a health test then you want to do it to know everything’s okay!

  29. Janie
    10 February, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    I just think it’s great that you have blogged about this. I was a late comer to smear tests as I got my first invite around 25 but was moving house and I guess I slipped through the net at my next surgery. The first time I went for one was about 2010 when I was 33 and I was that tense even though the nurse was nice to me and I couldn’t have it done, but she was understanding and told me to go away relax and try again. A few more years passed I moved and changed doctors again by that time I don’t know if I was more ready to have one but it want fine maybe not the most comfortable of things but I’m glad I had it done and know that I’m OK health wise. I hope that your post will reassure anyone who is not keen to have it done and that they’ll go out and have the test.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:33 pm

      I must admit I’m a worrier by nature and I know it sounds weird but I’ve always assumed I’ll get some terrible disease.. probably because you hear so much about them these days, anyway I was genuinely shocked when my result came back normal today, something inside me assumed that there would be SOMETHING so I’m REALLY glad I finally went – nothing is worth more than peace of mind about your health!

  30. 11 February, 2015 / 12:02 am

    Thank you for posting this, I am pretty nervous about having my first smear test but this made me feel more at ease πŸ™‚ x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:30 pm

      don’t be nervous.. although saying that’s almost as bad as telling you to relax, isn’t it? x

  31. 11 February, 2015 / 5:37 am

    That’s so interesting to hear that there is a minimum age. Is the minimum age covered by NHS or the minimum age for the test to be legally performed? I am in the USA and I am lucky that my OBGYN was very informative about all tests and procedures when I started seeing her many years ago at age 18. She recommended this test and performed it for patients like me under the age of 25. (She also recommended STI testing, even in a monogamous relationship albeit less frequently, which we don’t discuss either!)

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:29 pm

      it’s absolutely a cost saving thing. There’s the argument that cells can change and appear to be abnormal at younger ages which lead to unecessary treatments etc etc but let’s be real – they have to pay someone to take it, someone to process the sample, someone to screen it.. anyone can have one if they pay for it privately!!

  32. Ann Marie holohan
    11 February, 2015 / 8:31 am

    Having my first smear test was the most daunting experience, I’d built it up in my head to be so much worse and friends made me feel worse esp 1 in particular but in hindsight she is a drama queen over everything lol but I got mine done by our local nurse who knows me so she put me at ease and chatted to me normally the whole way through which helped me genuinely relax so it wasn’t as uncomfortable,I did have a little scare with my last smear which was last year there was an abnormality but I had it redone and spoke to the nurse who tried her best to relax me but I was extremely worried in the end the second one came back clear but I’ve decided to have yearly tests now just to be extra safe, as there is a history in my family of cervical cancer( early stages only) but better to be safe than sorry.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:27 pm

      if you’re nervous then having to have two in quick succession is probably the best thing.. desensitise you a little! There really is nothing to be worried about.. unless you don’t go

  33. 11 February, 2015 / 3:28 pm

    Thanks for posting this, it was an interesting read! I’m 22 and got invited to have a smear test when I was at University in Wales after I turned 20 (because the age was lower there, but I believe it’s gone up there too now) I didn’t go for one though because I was a virgin at the time so I didn’t think there was any need to, and also because I was a bit scared to. I’m still not looking forward to having to go for my first smear test in 3 years time but as you said it might save our lives so it’s 100% worth it. And it’s nice to know that it didn’t hurt! πŸ™‚ x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:25 pm

      I must admit were I a virgin I may be less inclined to go for one purely because it would be all the more awkward/uncomfortable but no sex doesn’t mean no problems!

  34. Blee
    12 February, 2015 / 1:55 am

    I only had my first one last year at 27 after ignoring a million letters from the HSE.
    It was done by my GP. I get crazy awkward being in the nip in front of people but she made me feel so comfortable and totally ok with whipping off my knickers right there in her office. I was still super nervous tho, she had to ask me to stop giggling (I’m a nervous giggler) as I kept pushing the speculum out (TMI).. Lovely πŸ˜›
    The sensation is sooooooooooo strange. It doesn’t hurt at all but feels like static or like your squeezing that brillo pad wool accept it’s clearly not in your hand.
    Over all I’m glad I went. It was nothing to be scared of and didn’t hurt nearly as much as people has told me it would.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:18 pm

      it’s just the sensation and having to relax that gets me.. I’m not embarrassed by it, it’s totally normal for them – funny story about the giggling though lol

  35. 12 February, 2015 / 10:55 am

    I’ve only had the one so far so this has reminded me that I must be due one soon. Speculums totally give me the heebiejeebies but actually I think once you’ve gone through labour and all the times through pregnancy that someone has to look up your cervix (and everything else) it stops phasing you. Once one persons seen it, what’s another?! The one thing that I don’t understand though is why so many opt not to go as does this mean they’re not being responsible with their srxual health too?! I thought those numbers were increasing? Maybe the word smear puts women off. It does sound a bit passive aggressive! X

    • missbudgetbeauty
      13 February, 2015 / 6:16 pm

      see I actually never had a vaginal labour (talk about heebiejeebies haha) with either of my kids so that didn’t really help me but I’m not shy.. this is what they do. If I had to get my bits out at the hairdressers then okay lol but especially as family planning this is what they do all day, every day x

      • 13 February, 2015 / 7:22 pm

        Me neither (little lady didn’t want to face the right way!) but that didn’t stop them fiddling about to check my waters etc! Especially as I had about four false starts. I just think they must be so unphased by it. The only “bad” thing I have is that the nurse who does smears at my local surgery has known me since I was 4! Now that is a bit wierd x

  36. missbudgetbeauty
    13 February, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    interesting!! I would love to know why the age is different!!

  37. Nadine
    14 February, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    I’m 22 and already had 3 smear tests done so far… I think that its important not to think that you dont need to get tested just because you’re young. Actually, on my second test I got results that showed some cell mutation! I’m fine, no cancer, but just to say, you’re not protected or anything just cause you aren’t 25 already.
    The most important thing is to find the right doctor/nurse. I have never had a child so far and was soooo nervous when I had to go to the gynecologist. And, guesd what, the only one available at that time was a man! But now, after 5 years and 4 more visits, I never want to go to another doctor! He is very careful, never hurts me and always explains eveything very clearly, which is important for me. Actually, I was tested by a female doctor once and omg, it wad the worst, she was so rough that I almost felt violated!

    So, don’t hesitate to cancel an appointment and look for another doctor if youre not feeling comfortable with the present situation. Trust me, once you found the right place to go to, the annual testing won’t be that big of a thing anymore.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      15 February, 2015 / 10:05 am

      A friend of mine had a similar experience. I would say that you know once you start talking to the examiner whether they’re going to make you feel comfortable and if they aren’t, leave! Also I agree with your not protected under 25 comment however unless you show symptoms or get a referral nobody will screen your smear so unfortunately there’s not much you can do until 25. I don’t agree with that at all, I mean how many of us are going to go for a smear just to waste their time? I think it should be 25 call up age but any time earlier you should be able to request one!

  38. 17 February, 2015 / 8:09 pm

    I put mine off for ages (I’m 26 in june) and have had invitations since I turned 24 (when I actually started complaining of pain in that area) I put it off for about a year and a half because I was worried about the whole exam. It’s actually a simple thing (hurts me because of undiagnosed problems) but for most people should not be too uncomfortable. My results came back clear no abnormal cells but I really urge anyone who is worried to get a check
    http://www.allthingskerri.blogspot.co.uk

  39. 18 February, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    Thank you so so much for writing this post! I’m due to go for my smear tomorrow morning and whilst I don’t feel anxious at the moment, I know tomorrow morning I will be. I guess I’m a mixture of scared it’ll be uncomfortable and also the fact something could come back through.

    I feel a little more comfortable about it since reading your post, so thank you. πŸ™‚

    https://theremightbecoffee.wordpress.com/

  40. Lily b
    9 March, 2015 / 12:24 am

    When I had my first smear test, I was relieved to find that the speculum wasn’t a big scary-looking metal contraption, but quite a small, clear, plastic version. I was imagining some huge metallic monster of a thing, but it really wasn’t like that at all. The little ‘brush’ thing they use to collect the cells looks like something you might use to clean really tiny baby’s bottles, and it’s only small, too. My normal practice nurse did it, and she’d recently been doing the course of Hepatitis B vaccinations I needed to work in a clinical lab, so she distracted me with questions about my masters research project. It was one of the more surreal academic conversations I’ve had, but it helped take my mind off what was going on ‘downstairs’ πŸ™‚

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