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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. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You may find it best to have your smear test done at a special clinic rather than at your GP surgery. Someone who is doing lots of smear tests per day will be much more skilled at using the speculum.
  2. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Just read this thread. mushroomz, I am so sorry for you - you don't seem to have found the right person to talk to about this. Some GPs and practice nurses can be so insensitive; I guess they are all constant pressure, but it's not right.

    I agree with jubilee, I think you may be very much better at a specialist clinic rather than your GP surgery. In the same way that giving a blood sample can be quite painful if done by a doctor, but you hardly know it's happening if a phlebotomist takes it - a specialist nurse will be very skilled. I know there are walk-in smear test clinics in London; you would need to check out what's available in your area.
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I don't get called routinely anymore and have no reason to worry about this but despite it being rather unpleasant, I was always glad to have it done. I still get called for breast screening and always keep my appointments.
  4. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Same here, lindenlea - 3 year breast screening was this week. Even though it's not particularly pleasant, I also send off the bowel cancer screening test every two years (and make sure reluctant OH does the same). It costs nothing, takes very little time or effort - and just might save your life.
    lindenlea likes this.
  5. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I've had this issue a few times, they've told me my cervix is inverted or tilted or something. One time a nurse had to go get the practice doctor because she couldn't find it and apparently only a doctor is allowed to go in there and poke about.....The doctor asked me if I'd had a hysterectomy :eek:

    But yes, go. In a monogamous relationship you're probably safe but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
  6. giotto

    giotto New commenter

    I haven't looked at the Health & well being forum for a very long time - years maybe? - and imagine my surprise today to find my old thread from 2009 has been resurrected!

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    But did you get your smear test??
    strawbs likes this.
  8. giotto

    giotto New commenter

    No, I didn't. In autumn 2012 I had some light bleeding and went to GP who recommended me for a hysteroscopy. Anyone ever had one of those? They said it was almost painless, at most uncomfortable, but it was the most horrific thing I've ever had to endure. Google it. I thought I'd slipped back in a time machine to the days of crude medicine and blood letting. In the end they had to stop the procedure and schedule me to have it done under general anaesthetic. Turned out to be a benign polyp.
  9. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    I’ve only been with the one partner and it has always come back clear. I’m due an appointment in a few months and will go to it promptly. It’s really not worth the risk and it’s only a few minutes. I always take a couple of painkillers before I go. It really does make a difference.xx
    emerald52 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  10. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    I put it off for 10 years, not harassed but just a reminder. When I eventually spoke to the nurse during routine bloods about my worries re hip arthritis and not being able to bend my legs into position, she had some suggestions straight away, eg a specialist sort of tilting bed and 2 nurses, one to do the business, and one to hold my legs. I went for it, it was quite painful but was over quickly without fuss. Thankfully all clear at first attempt (also have titled cervix, it took 3 attempts last time).
    I hope you managed mushroomz and it's done now.
  11. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

    Well, I went for my smear the other day, and the nurse tried and tried for more than ten minutes and the whole thing was utter agony, with no result at the end of it. Plus more than 24 hours of light bleeding and feeling bruised...

    So I have to go back....there will be two nurses next time, I believe, and I have been prescribed a diazepam to take beforehand......

    I so hope they can get a sample of cells next time, otherwise, it will mean a hospital referral.
  12. giotto

    giotto New commenter

    Oh, @mushroomz, I feel for you. I have this "tilted womb" thing going on and there have been occasions when the nurse says that she has "eventually got it" but I haven't been convinced that she has........ and the pain is awful. But I suppose the lab testers could tell if she hadn't got the right cells for testing, could they?
  13. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    A friend of mine has a cervix thst is tilted backwards. She said that the nurse put a pillow under her bottom to push her upwards. She said that was more comfortable. She was told to take a couple of paracetamol an hour beforehand.
    frangipani123 likes this.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I have had some problems with pain in that area, which made me very apprehensive about smear tests. I usually ask that I have their most experienced nurse. Things that help with the pain are: not letting shoulders rise up (dunno why - something to do with relaxing), asking them to pause movement as soon as there is pain, and doing pelvic-floor squeezes before letting them continue. Oh, and nice deep breathing.
  15. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Well, I’ve just got back from mine. Some deep breathing and positive efforts to relax were necessary as it was a bit uncomfortable but it’s done now. I asked about why they stopped after mid60s as I didn’t want to feel just left because we were too old to bother. The nurse convinced me that the data shows risks go down after the menopause and compared it to breast cancer where the risks go up and they will continue to test for that. So hopefully that’s that. I just have to look out for the results.
    strawbs likes this.
  16. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    If you take paracetamol before tests ( I do this for breast screening) it really helps. Do go for screening to keep you well.
  17. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

    Quick(ish) update - after two unsuccessful smear attempts, during the second one of which they found a polyp, I was automatically referred to the hospital. I assumed I was just being referred for a smear, but then recieved a whole load of bumph in the post about a colposcopy which scared me to death, and caused huge anxiety for weeks, leading to lack of sleep and difficulty eating. I finally went for the colposcopy appointment today to have the polyp removed.

    Anyway, in comparison to the two smear attempts at my GP surgery, the colposcopy was a breeze. Mildish - but bearable - pain, and they removed the polyp for further examination. Fingers crossed, it will not contain anything harmful.

    I am feeling quite relieved at the moment. I was so dreading my appointment.
  18. MrsFunny

    MrsFunny New commenter

    I m in exactly the same position as you re only having sex with one person and him having only had sex with me. A couple of smears ago I asked the nurse if it was worth me having them, not because I had a problem with having them as such (they usually go quite smoothly for me), but because with the NHS so under-funded and stretched to breaking point, I though they might be relieved if people who didn't really "need" them took themselves off the list. The nurse said that although most cases of cervical cancer are linked to a sexually transmitted virus, not all of them are, so it's still worth having smears. I'll continue to have them. I don't want cervical cancer, and although I don't know anybody at all well who has had it, I do have a relative who has recently found out they have a different form of cancer and it might have been growing for as long as 7 years. Why turn down screening that could prevent that happening?
    copycat likes this.
  19. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    I dont know if you've been watching the Sinead storyline in Coronation Street but it really hits home the devastating effects of Cervical Cancer. Anyone can get this whether sexually active or not. I just think with what happened to Jade Goody, it's very important for every woman.

    At my doctors surgery, they are very approachable and although I dont like the procedure I sort of just grit my teeth and deal with it. It feels like a sharp pinch and then it's over.

    I did bleed a bit the last time and I was worried but the nurse reassured me that this is normal if you've just finished a period or your due on which I was.

    Ask for the smallest speculum. Honestly if I can do it, you can do it.

    Just think of it as you are protecting your life.
  20. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    I was told that even if you bleed, it's nothing to overly worry about as they have a chemical they use in the lab to separate the blood cells from the cervix cells. Some women do have narrow cervix or at angles and that's fine. Nothing to worry about.

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