For those who have never done Pap smear, there is a lot of uncertainty about the test among young women.
In fact, there are a few barriers to Pap test especially fear, anxiety and embarrassment when it comes to vaginal examination.
Let`s talk about it here.
It is important to understand that skipping your smear test is the biggest risk factor for developing cervical cancer.
What to expect and what does the screening really involve?
- The appointment itself should take no longer than around 20-30 minutes, with the procedure itself taking just three minutes. Make sure to leave lots of time to get to your appointment, so that you don’t feel rushed.
- The doctor will explain to you during your clinic visit and examine you to rule out any abnormality before moving on with the test.
- First, you will be asked to undress from the waist down (some women prefer to wear a skirt to feel more comfortable) and lie on the examination bed on your back. You can either have your legs bent up, or keep your ankles together and knees apart. A paper sheet will be placed on the lower half of your body.
- The doctor will then insert an instrument called a speculum into the vagina. Some clinicians may use lubricant on the speculum, which will make it easier to insert. The speculum will be gently opened inside the vagina, allowing the doctor to see the cervix and to obtain the sample.
Frequently asked questions about Pap smear and dealing with your concerns.
What is a Pap test?
The Pap test takes a tiny sample of cervical tissue to detect cancerous cells or cells that might become cancerous in the future.
When should you get tested and how often?
Doctors recommend women begin doing Pap smear from the age of 21, with follow up testing every three years from ages 21 to 65. The American Cancer Society says women 30 and older can have the test every five years, if they are tested at the same time for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), and it is linked to cervical cancer.
Does it hurt?
It might be uncomfortable, but a Pap test shouldn’t hurt. Some women experience light bleeding afterward, but most don’t. And those who do usually don’t feel anything.
Is shaving pubic hair necessary before the test?
No, this isn’t necessary. Whether you are shaved, waxed or all natural it’s all the same when getting a Pap smear done. So, don’t worry about being judged at all.
Will the doctor keep everything confidential?
Yes, of course. Conversation and examination that take place during your visit will be kept confidential.
Is it OK to ask questions about the test?
It is definitely OK to ask question to your doctor about anything which bothers you about the test. In fact, it is encouraged.
No topic is too weird to discuss. We are here to help you so don’t hold back from voicing your concerns.
Relaxation Tips during Pap smear!
Relaxing during a Pap test isn’t just important for your own mental health but remember, the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your vagina is. This will make the experience more comfortable for you and easier for your doctor.
- Try taking deep breaths and pay attention to your breathing.
- Ask a friend or other support person to come with you.
- Distract yourself by looking at posters and flyers that may be on the wall or try to engage in a conversation with your doctor to distract yourself.
Because every woman matters…Do not fear the smear!
Every woman should make a personal commitment to follow the recommended screening schedules and guidelines for Cervical Cancer Screening. All women in the age group of 21 to 65 must plan a visit to your doctor for cervical examination, Pap test, HPV test as suitable.