Many women fret about having a cervical smear test, worrying about the procedure to the point of avoiding it altogether. Sadly, this embarrassment leads all too often to women neglecting to make their smear test appointments a priority and it is very common for women to miss tests for no good reason.
The test itself is fairly minor, albeit intrusive, but for the majority of women it is painless and over very quickly. It is best performed mid-menstrual cycle. You may experience some slight spotting or bleeding afterwards; only if the bleeding is serious do you need to alert your doctor or practice nurse.
Although the actual smear test procedure can be a little uncomfortable, it normally isn't painful. If it is, tell your doctor or nurse. If you try to relax during your smear test it can help make the whole thing much more comfortable. Your gp or practice nurse can talk you through the procedure to help you understand what they or doing or just to distract you, if you think this will help.
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For further information about HPV visit NHS Cancer Screening Programme.
Further information about Colposcopy and invasive illness is available from the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.
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