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Don't Fear the Smear: My First Cervical Screening

Cervical Screenings, more commonly known as pap or smear tests, are something most women will experience at some point in their lives - usually more than once. Despite being surrounded by many strong women who had all gone through it and encouraged it, I had still come to fear it.



With many discussions being held on the appropriate age to book a cervical screening, I knew that come my 25th birthday if I hadn't heard from my GP it was time to take matters into my own hands and book the damn appointment.


So I called my GP and to my surprise, they could fit me in a week to the day. It's fair to say I felt unprepared. I immediately began googling the process and became inundated with lengthy articles filled with overly complex medical terms that I just couldn't get my head around, and so I decided to document my first experience in the hopes that it may help other anxious women feel at ease and encourage them to put their fears aside and their health ahead.


From my brief yet overwhelming research, I had read that whilst an appointment may only last ten minutes, it may be wise to take along a book as a way to distract and put ones self at ease. So at 12:15, I made my way inside the surgery and read my book as I waited patiently for the nurse to call my name.


Going into that little doctors room my nerves began to build, but I just kept on reminding myself that this is something I had to do and would be worth it in the long run. The appointment couldn't have been longer than ten minutes, starting with quick fire questions on my general health that was followed by a quick change, the nurse putting me in the right position and a small procedure with no real discomfort other than some cramp in my right leg.


I was made to feel at ease with my nurse, as she assured me I could stop the whole process at any point and that smaller speculums were available if necessary.


Whilst I may still have two weeks to wait for my results, I am proud of myself for getting through the appointment and happy knowing in the next three years I would be confident and calm going into my next appointment.


Remember: Whilst Cervical Screening may not be a test for cancer, it can certainly help to prevent it. You are in control, you can stop a cervical screening at any point should you feel uncomfortable and remember that no two experiences are the same.


For more resources on cervical screening, check out the websites listed below:

NHS.co.uk

Jostrust.org.uk


Love, India x



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