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Health Forum The place to discuss health-related issues. This board is for informal discussions only; for personal medical concerns, see your doctor.

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Default Smear/Pap Tests: Don't Die Of Embarrassment - 02-09-2009, 03:57 PM

If you are sexually active, then a smear or pap test (different names for the same thing) is absolutely vital. It may seem embarrassing or scary, but don't hesitate to have one if you need it; it could save your life.

BBC - The Surgery - Body & Mind - Girls' Bodies - Smear tests

Smear tests

AKA:

Cervical screening, pap test, smear.

What is a smear test?

It's a test to make sure we are not at risk of getting cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb).

Do I need to have a smear test?

Cervical cancer (cancer of the cervix) is one of the most common cancers in women and many women who've got it don't realise it for years. The earlier you find it, the easier cervical cancer is to treat, so it's important to get tested.

How do I get one?

Once you’re over 25 you’ll automatically get free smear tests from the NHS, who’ll write to you urging you to make an appointment. You'll be eligible for a free cervical screening test every three to five years until you're 64.

It's best if you don't have a smear test while you're on your period. The best time is two weeks after your period, but it doesn't have to be exact.

What will happen?

A doctor or nurse will take a sample of cells from your cervix and send them off to a laboratory to be tested. This isn't as scary as it might sound. It only takes a couple of minutes and, while it isn't exactly a barrel of laughs, it doesn't hurt.
  • You'll need to take off your knickers and lie on your back with your legs bent and apart while the doctor or nurse uses a speculum (a small metal instrument) to look at your cervix.
  • Then they'll use a tiny spatula to scrape some cells from your cervix. None of this should be painful, although it might be a bit uncomfortable, especially if you're nervous - so try to stay relaxed.
  • Your results should be ready in a few weeks. Check with the doctor how to get your result.
  • You can read a description of a smear test here.


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Default 02-13-2009, 05:54 PM

that just got me more scared about the pap test...
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Default 02-13-2009, 08:47 PM

Oh ugh....THIS thing...I'm so scared to do one. And for me it's absolutely crucial because the women in my family on both sides have a history of problems down under. It's not so much the thing going in, it's the little spatchula thing you described. I don't like it when dry tampons scrape my sides none the less something actually meant to get something out!

I'll get one when I get insurance which should be within this year or so, but because of my family history I'll need it just in case. If I did one now and they found something then the rip off insurance will say it was a pre-existing illenss or whatever and might not cover the costs to treat it!


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Default 02-13-2009, 08:55 PM

I won't lie; it's NOT pleasant at all and feels icky, but it's crucial that you get one for the sake of your health. You can ask a female doctor to do it if you'll feel nervous about a man doing it (like me; female doctor EVERY TIME O_O) and you only have to have a smear once every three years so when it's done, that's it for a while.


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Default 02-14-2009, 02:07 AM

Man I remeber going for my first one and yes I do agree with Miranda it does feel icky, but it is crucial for your health. At the clinics they are very good and providing you a female doctor if you feel very uncomfortable.


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Default 02-14-2009, 06:06 AM

My mom tends to go overboard about me needing to get one, which is starting to get on my last nerve because I've never had sex or anything. She's freaking out over family history problems (endomytriosis) and I can say now that I am not experiencing any horrible pains like her and my aunt did, even when they were on BC. Yes, I did have a sc.rewy cyst a year or three back, but every girl gets a cyst once in awhile that's a real pain in in the butt.

Mom says that if my gyno (who thank god is a girl and not a guy) says I need a test, then apparently I need one. I am honestly downright terrified of having to get one because I can honestly say that I've never had horrible problems, I've never sc.rewed around, etc. I mean, yeah, I still need to get that Guardasil shot thing just because my aunt keeps on preaching it to my mom, but what also doesn't help is that my neighbor's daughter had cervical cancer. Now my mom's downright paranoid about my own health. -__-;

So in short, I think it should be up to the patient and not the patient's mother.



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Default 02-14-2009, 08:48 AM

Well, if you're not sexually active, then you don't really need one just yet. Someone I know was a virgin up to the age of around 22, and she didn't get a smear til a couple of years after that.


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Default 02-14-2009, 01:22 PM

yeah, my mom is freaking out about it, too. Any little stomach pain or discomfort down there and she starts lecturing me about how I need to visit the gyno.
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