To smear or not to smear? That is the question

I know that having a smear test for you is not a holiday, far from it. Indeed the journey to the centre of the cervix is a long journey and it’s filled with fear and trepidation. Laying there feeling trapped with your legs wide open with someone poking around down there, isn’t very pleasant. This wasn’t the tour you signed up for was it?

Drawing of a Doctor

Especially when the doctor’s a heavy handed male, poking and prodding about with a giant silver thing which looks decidedly like a ‘ducks bill’ and is otherwise known, as a speculum’.

My God! The drama of it all. I used to hate having a smear test and I have to say I am still not enamoured by them, although the procedure is very necessary. During one particular smear test I was so stressed and I got off the couch and left the room. I was out of there like Forest Gump on a mission.

In a later smear test I asked to see a female doctor I assumed she would be more supportive than am male doctor, how wrong I was? I was so anxious I couldn’t relax as she forced my legs apart, while shouting at me to relax she then attempted to ‘shove the speculum up my lady bits’. She continued to shout at me saying; you’ve been married haven’t you? How can anyone relax under those circumstances? God knows!

Needless to say I never went back to her, unfortunately her approach, just compounded my fears around this procedure. I have to say on the plus side though, since then   I have been able to have the procedure performed, because I now have a lovely GP practice and a wonderful practice nurse, who listened to my concerns and accommodates my needs.

So how can you help yourself?


Talking Heads

Before you attend your appointment talk to the practice nurse or the professional involved and explain to them your worries and concerns.

Tell them about your past history of sexual abuse, they are often aware of these issues, having plans in place to help you to feel as comfortable as possible.

Don’t worry about being judged, because the more they know the better aware they are and can allow more time for you and your appointment.

This will offer you time and the opportunity to ask questions and time to relax and get ready for the procedure.

Remember you are always in control at all times and your practitioner should explain, exactly what they are doing why and when.

Before commencing the procedure agree with the practitioner that should you wish them to STOP the procedure at any time, this will be done immediately.

Some tips to help you relax

  1. Take a friend with you and sit and hold your in during the test.
  2. Focus on your breathing, take deep breaths and think CALM then breathe out the stress. Notice the rhythm of your breath, how it sounds, what does it feel like.
  3. Distract yourself talk to your friend, look at posters and flyers that may be on the wall.
  4. Play a game in your head, try to think of an animal, country, or city for the every letter or count figures, adding, subtracting etc.
  5. Listen to music you may have brought with you.
  6. Take something with a nice smell like lavender to help you relax.
  7. Imagine a lovely healing colour like pinks, purple, pale blue breath into it.

So then, to smear or not to smear? That is the question.

I understand your fears and concerns and the decision to have or not to have a smear test is entirely yours.

One has to say though it is medically advisable to have them, as they are essential for our health and well-being.

Maggie Irwin Portrait

Hi! I’m Maggie and as a Hypnotherapist, Master Practitioner of NLP, Mental Health and Wellbeing Professional with 35 yrs experience in the NHS and private sector, I’m here to help you release the past, recover your courage and design your most magnificent life.

Learn more about me here.