Well, if it’s good enough for Chloe Delevingne to get a smear test live on telly, editor Lorne is baring all to share her smear test experience
And, hopefully, this will encourage you to go and get your smear done!
The dreaded letter
Before the age for smear tests was raised to 25 women could get them from the age of 20. I received my letter calling me for a smear test when I was 19.
I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to get called for a smear test instead of jetting off to Hogwarts…
As you can imagine, at the age of 19 I was more concerned with going out than looking after my health. That’s where my mum came in: she literally watched me phone the nurse to make an appointment.
Getting booked in was easy and very quick. Much like the test itself.
When I was called in by the nurse my legs were shaking, I imagined EVERYONE in the surgery knew what I was going in for, and I felt like I was walking into the unknown. A colourful leaflet can only help you expect so much.
In the room, a very lovely and pleasant nurse explained in great detail what would happen every step of the way.
She showed me the products she would be working with (a speculum and small brush), and preceded to make some cringe comments about boyfriends and willies. Yup, the nurse used the word willies. If I wasn’t nervous before…
I was then asked to go behind a curtain and take my pants and trousers off (if someone knows the key place to put your knickers, hit me up) and jump on the bed.
Once ‘comfortable’, yet wearing significantly less clothing – modesty covered with a fetching blue piece of paper – the nurse asked me to put my legs apart and feet together.
I looked like I was doing some sort of off yoga pose.
The nurse then explained bit by bit, exactly what she was doing at each point. Gently inserting the speculum, there was some tightness and discomfort, but absolutely no pain.
Here the nurse then took a sample and gently removed the speculum.
Everyone keeps on saying it, but it’s so true, it took two minutes max.
Quicker than getting a morning coffee; quicker than putting money in the bank, or going to the post office: and it is life saving.
After getting my kit back on, the nurse explained that I would get a letter out with my results in two weeks and I would be called back in three years.
Now in my mid twenties (sob) I’ve experienced my fair share of smear tests – that doesn’t make it any less daunting. But, I have learned a few lessons from the ever friendly nurses having a good look at/inside my noonie.
The main one: don’t get a smear done when your menstrual cycle is about to start, as this can significantly impact the results of your test. I was unlucky enough to experience this and had to go back for another test… always a joyous extra for the to-do list.
An ideal time to get your smear test done is in the middle of your cycle as that’s when the cells are at their ‘prime’ for a sample.
Discussions on smear tests are so crucial at the moment as one in three women don’t attend smear test appointments. Embarrassment, bad experiences, or not thinking it is essential: smear tests are life saving.
If you are 25 or over, received your letter, it’s time to get booked in.