A smear test is a type of medical test that is done to check on the health of the cervix. There is a common misconception that cervical screenings are a test for cancer, but it is more accurate to say it is a test to prevent cancer. A smear test is important as it can detect some of the early signs of cancer, which means treatment can begin as soon as possible. Smear tests are available for people with a cervix once they turn 25, although some may be invited for the test earlier. After your first test, you will be invited back for another one in about three years. It is important to attend your smear tests as they are very effective in detecting and preventing cancer. Within this article, we will go over some more details of the smear test, so you know what to expect when you go for yours.
The appointment in total should only last around 10 minutes and the test will be completed by a female nurse, doctor, or a gynaecologist consultant. Prior to the test itself, you will have a sit down with a medical professional and have a quick conversation about your general health. They will ask you about your last period and whether you are on any contraception. It should also be noted that you can still attend your smear test even if you are on your period, so do not worry. Your doctor or nurse will double-check with you to see if you are experiencing any problems or if there is anything they might need to know before the test begins. They might ask you if there is a chance you could be pregnant, so make sure you are open and honest with them.
Once you have had a brief chat with the medical professional, you will then be asked to undress from the waist down and lie on the bed. There will be a sheet or something to put over you, so just do that and relax. Your nurse will come back into the room and double-check that everything is okay, and that you are good to proceed with the test. She will ask you to bend your legs, keep your feet together, and let your knees fall apart. Once you are in a comfortable position, she will insert a tubed-shaped tool called a speculum into your vagina and open it so they can see your cervix.
After this, a soft-bristled brush is used to take a small sample of cells from your cervix. She will only need to move the brush around for a few seconds to collect the sample. The entire test should take less than five minutes and it is a very routine procedure. Once the nurse has taken the sample, the speculum will be closed and taken out and you will be given privacy to get dressed. After you are dressed, the nurse will come back in and double-check you are okay and see if you have any questions. You shouldn’t feel pain during the test, but you may feel slightly uncomfortable. If you do experience any pain, please make sure you let your nurse know.
After The Test
It is common that within a few hours after the test, you experience some spotting or light bleeding. If you do experience it, then keep an eye on it because the spotting should only last a couple of hours maximum. If you notice that you are bleeding heavily or even if the light bleeding doesn’t stop, then you should ring your doctors for some advice. Additionally, if you notice you are experiencing some painful cramps or general pelvic pain, then give your doctors a call. While it may not be anything serious, it is always best to get things checked out, just in case.
In terms of the results of your smear test, they can take up to six weeks, but it is likely you will receive them a lot sooner. You will get the results via a letter in the post, so make sure your address is up to date. The results will let you know if your test has come back all clear or if they will need to do another test. The goal for the smear test is to look for HPV, which can be a sign of cancer. So, if they find HPV within your sample, but no abnormal cells, then you will be asked to come back for another cervical screening in a year’s time. However, if they find HPV along with some abnormal cells, then you will be asked to have a colposcopy. This is a test which takes a closer look at your cervix and can analyse some of the cells in a more in-depth way.
I'm a mum in my mid 30s with over 15 years of childcare experience working as a private nanny, babysitter and a few years as a nursery teacher. Now I've got my own family too! I love finding great products for mums and kids.
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