I decided to write this blog post because this is a pretty important matter and I know how anxious it can make you feel, especially when you don't know what to expect. So, I'll be telling you about my experience and hopefully it will remove any fear you currently have and put your mind at ease.
What is a smear test for?
A few weeks before your 25th birthday you will receive a letter encouraging you to book an appointment with your local GP (you can go to a sexual health clinic) for a smear test aka cervical screening test. This test will check the health of the cells on your cervix and to see if there are any abnormal cell changes.
What happens at the appointment?
First of all, i will let you know that you can ask to see a female nurse for your screening and you can also request to have a friend or family member with you for support, if that will make you feel more comfortable. And secondly, the test won't be painful but it may feel slightly uncomfortable for obvious reasons.
You'll be asked a few questions, like when you were last on your period and if you may be pregnant. The nurse will then explain the purpose of the test to you. You'll then go behind the curtain, undress from the waist down and lie on the examination bed with your legs bent and your pelvis raised. A plastic speculum will be insterted into your vagina and opened allowing the nurse to see your cervix. A specially designed brush will then be used to take a sample of cells from your cervix. Try and relax because being tense can make it difficult to carry out the test.
The test should take around 5 minutes or so.
What happens after the appointment?
The cell sample will be sent off to the lab to be analyzed and you should receive your results within 2 weeks.
How often do i need a smear test?
Women aged 25 to 49 are encouraged to have a smear test every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.
Hopefully this post gave you an insight of what to expect at your first smear test. For more information you can check out the NHS website.