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So Ladies? What's with the Smear Fear?

Yes, ladies. Like it or not, cervical screenings are something that we have to endure in our lifetime. It goes without saying, we all know the importance of regular screenings and the devastating impact cervical cancer can have. However, latest statistics show that attendance of cervical screenings in England are the lowest they have been for two decades, falling to 72%. Many of us know the importance of these tests, yet it something we are not doing. So what's with the smear fear?

Now, don't get me wrong I was like so many of you reading this post and feared the smear. It's not the most comfortable. I had my first smear a few months after I had my daughter, my health visitor mentioned booking one for me at my daughter's six week check and she booked me in for the following week. I was apprehensive, because I didn't know what to expect. But in all honesty it wasn't as bad as I thought. It was a little uncomfortable, but painless and took less than five minutes. I know they are not nice, but it's something that could potentially save your life. I saw an article that has inspired me to want to write this post. In the article, there is a consistent theme throughout, the Jade Goody Effect is over with cervical screening appointment being made at an all time low. For those that don't know, Jade Goody was a reality television personality who hit the spotlight through Big Brother UK and was pretty much in the spot light from there on. At the age of 26, she was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer and passed away a few months later. Being in the public eye, Jade used her diagnosis to try and raise awareness for cervical cancer screenings for younger women, and her sharing her story saw an increase in the rate of women attending appointments for their smears. It is vital that women attend their smear tests, and are educated on the importance of regular smear tests. If you are over 25 and have not had a smear test in the past three years, get in contact with your GP to book a simple, painless, quick procedure which could save your life. I have my appointment today....So go and book your smear, spread the word in aid of cervical cancer prevention week 22-28 January 2018.

However  if you're feeling fearful about having your first smear or don't want to return to have another, I have a few suggestions to help you feel more at ease.

W h a t   t o   w e a r ?

In all honesty it really doesn't matter what you wear on the day, as you'll be behind a curtain. But dress in comfy clothing so you can get undressed quickly, ensuring you're in and out of your appointment in no time. You will then be asked to strip from the waist down and get onto the bed. You are given a sheet so you can cover your lower half and then you will let the doctor or nurse know that you are ready. My nurse was so friendly and knew that it was my first time so she chatted to me about my daughter, which made me feel at ease. 

B o o k i n g   t h e   a p p o i n t m e n t .

Call your doctor surgery and organise a time that's convenient for you. At the moment there seems to be a two week wait, however when I booked mine I was offered appointments at other surgeries so keep this in mind when booking yours. Most tests will be performed by a female nurse or doctor, but always check and ask for a female if you'd prefer. Something else to consider when booking the appointment is your menstrual cycle. It's not always so easy to predict your period, but try and book the appointment before or after your period. 

B e f o r e   t h e   t e s t .

A few days before your test avoid having sex for 48 hours, or have anything inside you including any vaginal medications, moisturisers, creams or lubricants. As these can affect the result, meaning that you may have to book another test. It may sound obvious but if your bikini line is tidy, you will most likely to feel more relaxed. But in all honesty if you don't the nurse or doctor will not be in the bothered when doing the procedure, it's something that they have to do on a daily basis. 

O n   t h e   d a y .

You may feel nervous, but there is nothing to feel nervous about. It's a little comfortable, but completely bearable. The cervical screening test usually takes around 5 minutes to carry out. The doctor or nurse will gently put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. This holds the walls of the vagina open so the cervix can be seen. A small soft brush will be used to gently collect some cells from the surface of your cervix. I'm not entirely sure how to describe the procedure, it's an odd sensation and something I have never felt before, but it's painless. So make sure you try to relax as much as possible as being tense makes the test more difficult to carry out. The cell sample is then sent off to a laboratory for analysis and you should receive the result within 2 weeks.

So, ladies? Get your lipsticks ready and join in the #SmearForSmear campaign to raise awareness for cervical cancer prevention week 22-28 January 2018. I would love to give a special thank you to all the beautiful ladies who got out their lipsticks and joined in with the campaign #SmearForSmear and agreed to be a feature in this post. So please go and give these amazing ladies some love.

29 comments on "So Ladies? What's with the Smear Fear?"
  1. The Smear For Smear campaign is such a great idea! But to be honest I think it's disgraceful that you can only get a smear test if you're 25 & over. The vast majority of people are sexually active years before then & so many of us missed out on the HPV vaccine at school. I had some abnormal cells due to HPV a few years ago but luckily I didn't need further treatment. I think I'm due a smear test in March & I'm worried that I'll have abnormal cells again. I know how important it is to go though so a few minutes of discomfort is nothing xx

  2. This is such an important issue and well done you for being involved in this. You are so right, many people have now forgotten about the Jade Goody campaign and I think awareness is lower. I had my last test when I was pregnant, but you've reminded me I should go again, especially since changing doctors recently too. x

  3. This post is incredibly topical and important. Thank you so much for writing this and recruiting other bloggers! Going to share this one 100%

  4. This is such an important campaign. I've been getting smears since I was 19 (you can start that young in Ireland) and while they're not the nicest of things it CAN save your life. I'm continually shocked to hear the attendance rate is so low.

  5. What a great informative post! The importance of these tests are high! I’m not bothered by these type of tests but I can see why people are! Much love, Caitylis x x

  6. Such a brilliant campaign. I am up to date with my smear, my last one done at the same time I had my iud removed. I wish more women knew how quick and easy they are and for a minute of awkwardness, it really can be lifesaving #blogcrush

  7. This year is my first smear test and I am so nervous but I am going to try and overcome the anxiety and just go and do it cause I know it's important. Thank you for sharing this information, it's been really helpful! xx

    Yasmina | The July Journal

  8. I remember being so embarrassed at my first smear test, but it's nothing really, and, like you say, the ladies who do it are so matter of fact. I think this is a great campaign, and I think it's so important to talk about these things.

  9. I'm only 21 but do think the age should be lowered! Thank you for sharing such an insightful post as it's good knowledge for me when the time does come for me x

  10. This campaign is such a great idea! I remember being so scared for my first smear but now I look back and realise what a breeze it was and I’m always promoting my pals to have theirs done! x

  11. To be honest, the thought makes me cringe and I can imagine I would feel anxious until it was over and done with but that's not enough reason to not get it done. I think since giving birth and being quite sore downstairs I just have a fear of it being touched by doctors/nurses but I need to get over it!

    Gemma Louise

  12. Such an important post! Thank you for sharing and bringing awareness!

  13. This is such an important thing to do. I can't understand why people try to et out of it. #BlogCrush

  14. It's so important, and although it's not a nice thing we all need to make sure we go and get checked! #BlogCrush

  15. Smear tests are so important....I always get mine when I get my contraceptive implant changed. I am too busy stressing about the pain in my arm to worry about a simple smear test. hehehe #BloggersBest

  16. Such a great campaign and a super reminder! Well done to the lippy smearers too!

  17. Great post and so fan to raise the awareness. I always go, as just worry too much otherwise. The nurses are all so chatty and nice. Thanks for sharing with #bloggersbest

  18. I can't tell you how much I love this. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year, I have subsequently had surgery and am fine now but it was a very scary time. If it wasn't for the smear test my story would probably be very different. To support the #SmearForSmear campaign I'll be sharing my story over on my blog next week. Brilliant post. xxx

  19. Great advice! I've had one or two smears - can't remember the last time though, must check I'm not due! It can be quite daunting the first time but like you say, it's totally ok once you're there! #BlogCrush

  20. What a great compaign to be part of. I've never had an issue with having smear tests myself, although I did once say 'no' when asked if a student could watch! Ugh! I hope you have encouraged more women to face the fear and get on with it!

  21. I've never had a problem going in for my exams, but I think it's because my doctor makes me feel so comfortable. #BlogCrush

  22. Oh I hate going for a smear, I think it all depend on who does it but I've come away with some bleeding in the past. I would recommend to always bring a spare panty liner or sanitary towel just in case. It is important though, like a mammogram, another uncomfortable procedure that women have to endure. #blogcrush

  23. This is such an important message - I used to dread the smear test but after having 3 children I don't bat an eyelid anymore! #blogcrush

  24. I’m due for my first smear and I’ll be honest i feel scared, but this post has made feel so much better thank you #blogcrush

    Soffy //

  25. Fantastic piece. I have seen so many people wait too long to have routine checks. I sounds uncomfortable, it sounds invasive, but no where as a bad as if you leave it too late. Be strong x

  26. Thank you for touching on SUCH an important topic! I tried to have a smear done once, but due to my unique anatomy it was too painful for the Dr to proceed. Reading these shocking statistics has encouraged me to have another go. Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another, and I need to be around for my children. #blogcrush

  27. Such an important campaign. Having had 2 children, I think I've got past the fear of having a smear (all dignity has already been lost! Haha) but it's still that awkward feeling of not knowing where to look or when to strip off. I'm always glad once it's out of the way! #blogcrush

  28. This is such vital information, it's so important that people go for their smear tests. I remember ranting a few years ago to a family member about how silly it was that people weren't attending their smears, and unbeknownst to me she hadn't gone to hers! My rant made her realise she need to go, she did and it came back that she needed some treatment, but it was all discovered early so it's all ok now.
    I feel a bit immune to the embarrassment of it all since having my daughter. #blogcrush

  29. My mother, gem that she is, booked my first smear on my 18th birthday. No joke. Happy birthday to me. I've been going regularly ever since. Not on my birthday however! :0 #blogcrush xoxo


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