Recently a friend and I were discussing smear tests. She’s a little younger than me and had never had one before and had no idea what it’s like making me realise that no one really talks about it so from my experiences here’s what to expect.
Normally your smear test will be carried out by a nurse at your GP practice/well woman clinic but I know from other people that you can request to have it carried out by a doctor. When you arrive you will normally sit down with the nurse/doctor and they will run through some lifestyle questions covering things like your periods, alcohol intake, whether or not you check your boobs for lumps etc. The nurse may also check your blood pressure and ask to check your weight and height. The last time I had a smear test I said no to the weight check, remember you can always say no and decline to answer any questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering.
Next the nurse will get you to go over to the bed in the room and draw the curtain around it. She’ll allow you time to take off your trousers/tights and your pants and get up on to the bed. There will normally be a sheet of paper towel to cover yourself up with. Once you are ready she will come back into the room. In order for you to be examined, if you are able to, you will be asked to put your feet up as close to your bum as possible keeping your feet together and flopping your knees outwards, (the same position as you would be in for a bikini wax).
Once you’re comfortable the nurse will gently insert a speculum into your vagina. This allows her to open you up enough that she can examine your cervix. It is slightly uncomfortable but it shouldn’t be painful. Most nurses/doctors are very good at helping you to relax and checking that it’s not too uncomfortable. Once you are in position a tiny little brush is used to pick up some cells from your cervix. The smear test itself won’t normally take more than 5 minutes.
After you’ve had the test, especially if it’s your first one, it’s likely that there will be a little bit of spotting afterwards. This is totally normal and nothing to worry about. Your doctor’s surgery will get the test results back after about 6 weeks but generally you don’t hear from them unless there is something wrong or if the test is inconclusive. An inconclusive test sometimes happens if you bleed during the test and they can’t get enough cells to test. It just means that you’ll need to go back and get the test done again. If your test does raise any issues you will be able to discuss this with your doctor/specialist if you are referred.
I hope you found this post useful. These “What to expect” posts will be on Fridays going forwards. If you have any questions leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer.