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Absolutely petrified of getting a smear

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Absolutely petrified of getting a smear

Hi all, 

I’m 27 and I’ve been putting off my smear for two years because I am absolutely petrified of going. They’ve stopped sending me letters now because I keep ignoring them, but it’s something that plays on my mind a lot. I suffer with anxiety anyway but for some reason this pushes me over the edge, and I can’t even think about the procedure without crying. I’m scared of making the phone call to book it, I’m scared of getting undressed, I’m scared it’s going to hurt or it’ll take ages, I’m scared I’m going to cry, and I’m scared of waiting for the results afterwards. I work within the NHS and I KNOW how important cervical screening is, but I just cannot get my brain to start thinking rationally and just do it. I’ve only had sex twice in my life with one person, I’m a non smoker, my periods are regular and pretty much pain free, I have no family history of cervical cancer, so from what I’ve read I think I’m low risk but I know it’s still important to go. I can’t stop thinking about how irresponsible I’m being by not going, but I don’t know how to rationalise with my own brain. 

Any tips or advice on just getting over yourself and doing it would be greatly appreciated <3


I put my first smear off for a year I think out of embarrasment then I got a letter saying I was putting my health at serious risk so I booked it up. It was quite embarrassing the first time I'll be honest but it wasn't painful at all. They give you a sheet to cover yourself also so you're not laying there exposed. My smears were normal until after I had my second child then started getting abnormalities then early cancer so I've had so many things done down there I don't get embarrassed anymore. Thing is with hpv you only have to sleep with one person to get it. I didn't fit the risk factors really but I still got it. Chances are you won't have any problems but honestly it's such a simple test and the nurse does it all the time. Let them know you're really nervous and they can book you a double appointment slot so you're not rushed. Even if you do cry they'll understand but the test is over so quickly then chances are you'll get clear results and can relax until the next one in 3 years. 


Hi Charl, 


the first time is the worst as you don’t know what to expect, but you just have to remind yourself that these people see these things day in day out it’s completely second nature to them and they’re not judging you at all, like they don’t care whether yours looks different to the last one they saw, whether it’s shaved or hairy, whether you’ve bothered to shave your legs. they’re just doing their job. 

The worst part is getting on the bed with no pants or trousers on waiting for them to come back around the curtain. The actual speculum and smear itself doesn’t hurt one bit... just a little uncomfortable. And if it does hurt you can tell them and they will stop, also they have different size speculums so they can go down a size if required etc. 

It’s 100% worth 10 minutes of feeling slightly embarrassed / uncomfortable for something that could potentially save your life. Get booked in and maybe take someone with you for moral support ?! 

I had abnormal cells and treatment a few years back, and so from the age of 24-27 had numerous smears, biopsies, treatment etc. You definitely get used to it after the first one. I got to the point where I started undressing before they’d even closed the curtain and they said don’t you want me to close the curtain and wait the other side while you undress? I’m like nah there’s no point you’re going to see it all soon anyway! 

Focus on getting it done and out of the way, good luck!