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Do I REALLY need to have a smear test?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by giotto, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    a) because they are scared
    b) because if something is found and treated, it increases their chances of other things such as miscarriage and premature birth, EVEN IF the condition that was treated would have righted itself anyway.

  2. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    c) because many of us suffer to varying extents with vaginismus where the spasms can make it impossible/extremely painful.
  3. Two words....... Jade Goody. PLEASE get it done.
  4. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    There ain't much you can do if your hole clamps shut and they can't get the thing up there.
  5. qwe


    no offence intended, but to compare the OP with JG suggests a poor understanding of the complexities of the issue (and might be construed as insulting to the OP, although I'm sure she won't take it that way...)
    what's the trusim about "to every serious problem there is an answer which is simple, obvious... and wrong?" I'm far from saying it would be wrong for the OP to have a smear, but I hope anyone who decides to have something done in which the likelihood of harms (albeit non-life-threatening ones, except rarely to future children) is greater than the likelihood of benefits (albeit including extension of life) understands the issues.
  6. If you are a virgin or have always used condoms then no, otherwise as uncomfortable as it is a smear test can be a life saver.
  7. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    Sometimes it's impossible.
  8. Alifesaver for me! 1 monogamous partner,1 smear test- 1 cancer result, 1 hysterectomy- 1 life saved( and hopefully many more years to spend with my family.) THANKS NHS.
    SusanDrulia, BioEm and Mermaid7 like this.
  9. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    Yes get it done We lost our beautiful mother due to her not having time to have a smear test.
    The devastation it still causes today (30 years later) that she never met most of her grandchildren and my Dad lost the love of his life is still there.
    You are not just doing for you but everyone that knows and loves you.
  10. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I had my last routine smear test a couple of years ago. I'll be 65 this year and was told that I would get no more automatic calls to be tested. I should contact them if I notice any troubling symptoms.

    After my last pregnancy in 1983, my GP made sure that I had smear tests every year for 14 years because I'd had an emergency CS, followed immediately by a hysterectomy (with one ovary and the cervix left in place), because of a condition called placenta accreta (morbidly adherent placenta), which was pre-cancerous. Basically, they found remnants of the placentas from my two previous pregnancies still growing and firmly embedded through the womb wall. As the condition is rare and usually fatal from massive haemmhoraging (I needed 19 units of blood), there were no follow-up studies on cancer risk developing, so my GP arranged for the practice to fund the annual tests.

    The condition was to do with the lining of my womb being thinner in places, so nothing to do with extra risks from sexual history. There must be many more conditions that pose a cancer risk.
    Smear tests were something that I found uncomfortable but I never missed an appointment and felt very upbeat when I got the all-clear each year.
  11. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Jubilee, I will make my phone call for an appointment following a reminder letter tomorrow. I do wonder about the older age cut off point though. Do we suddenly become less risky or just getting older for expensive treatment?
  12. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    "Cervical cancer usually develops very slowly. It is estimated that it takes between 10 and 20 years for HPV infection to develop into abnormal cervical cells, and then on into cervical cancer. As cervical cancer develops so slowly, it is highly unlikely that women over 64 who have been regularly screened will go on to develop the disease."
  13. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

    I have been bullied many times to have this test - in writing and verbally over the years. I am sick of not being given the opportunity to make 'informed consent', only threatened wuth all sorts of possibilities happening if I don't have it done.

    I am going for one next week, as I have had some medical issues in that region, so in this instance I feel it is a necessity. However, my doctor was extremely insensitive when he realised I had not had a smear for a while.....He almost lost his temper and I left the surgery feeling extremely upset.....

    Whenever this test has been attempted on me, it has been EXTREMELY painful, and the nurse has had to stop eventually. Her instruments weren't going anywhere....my body just wasn't allowing it. I am wondering, if sedation is availabe for a dental checkup, or treatment, which is virtually painless, why isn't it available for this?..

    Anyway, as I have to go and get this done, I'm wondering if any of you ladies had any advice how to make the experience a little more bearable, so I don't have to keep going back until a sample is successfully taken eventually. Discomfort I can tolerate; severe pain - NO WAY.

    My doctor has prescribed a diazepam tablet, but, having taken a several months' course of diazepam in the past, I know it takes at least two weeks for the tablets to work. One on its own it is neither use nor ornament (VERY expensive too - £8 - the pharmacist looked at me with a very puzzled expression...). Also, I once took 2 of these before a smear, and it made no difference at all, so I'd rather not take strong but ineffective tablets....

    Many thanks for your help. I am currently feeling extremely anxious.
  14. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    I had a sexual counsellor once advise me how best to manage my smears (I've had far more than the average person),

    Firstly, plan what you're going to say, take it written down, and say it fully dressed, while sat in the chair, not laying on the bed. For example, you may say something like, "I've had very negative smear results and I suffer with symptoms similar to vaginismas. I feel safer you knowing this, and I need to know that you'll stop if I say stop.I know that the very small speculums are not always successful, but I'd appreciate us trying one first."

    Sedation isn't routinally offered, as it carries a danger, and the majority of people can have a smear with very little discomfort. I did have extra sedation for some vaginal treatment I had, based on my own history, but not for a smear. But nothing is impossible.

    I had an amazing nurse once, who gave me a few smears, and once I explained my history, she suggested we try with me sat up, rather than laying down, and it was a game changer. So I was leaning against the back of the bed, but not laying down. More propped up like in bed. Perhaps ask to try this. You could even have a glass of wine before!!?

    If you are capable of having sex without pain, this clamming up must be linked to your anxiety, so I'm sure there is also lots you could explore here. Listening to music, some mindfulness meditations etc. You could even have a glass of wine before!!?
  15. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

  16. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

    Sorry - over sensitive computer buttons!

    That sounds really helpful, Starbucks! Can I ask how you got a sexual counselor? Not too sure about the glass of wine though - my appointment is first thing in the morning.........but nothing's impossible, as you say!
  17. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    Then maybe focus on other relaxing things, or just mantras that soothe "I'm so lucky to have this health perk. This is so good for me" or whatever.

    I had a sexual counsellor via a local sexual health clinic. They referred me, and I think I saw her 6 times? Can't remember now. But she was brilliant.

    Deep breathing, lots of chatting about holidays. You could even ask to insert it yourself a few times, just closed. Also wear a skirt, so you don't feel so naked and vulnerable.

    I guess its a balance of not building it up to be a huge deal, but also just working out how best to manage it.

    If it gives you any hope, I have no problems with mine at all now. I used to have them every 6 months, and I had laser treatment, so I've had millions now! Ha. Lucky me ;-)
  18. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

    Aah thanks Starbucks! You have been very reassuring.

    You're so right in saying:

    "I guess its a balance of not building it up to be a huge deal, but also just working out how best to manage it."
  19. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    I suppose the assumption here is that women are with the same partner for all this time. That's certainly not the case amongst many of my friends nor me. Many people in their 40s and 50s are dating these days and that's been the case for many years.
  20. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    I'm not sure it does presume that. I quoted from a NHS thing somewhere that said they stop smear tests at 64 for this reason, I guess because they're saying most people would be ill or dead before the cancer started (!)

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