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** Approach with caution! Were talking all things vaginas in this post and things may get a little TMI. If talking about down belows and turkey basting looking objects doesn't bother you, you may want to grab a beverage as this is quite a long post, you have been warned **

So a brown envelope was pushed through my letter box a few weeks ago from the NHS... it was to arrange an appointment for a cervical screening, a smear test!

My first reaction was oh, i thought i had to be 25 to have one, but immediately was grateful for this early opportunity to have it done.
Booking it in over the phone with the receptionist at the doctors, she booked me in 3 weeks later with the nurse. Realising i had an actual date to be seen and to have this done, arose a couple of quandaries in my head.

What happens during it all?
Even though i had a leaflet telling me what cervical screening is with pointers and drawn images, i still can't quite picture how it's all going to happen. How long will it take? Will it depend because it's my first smear test or will it just be a go in get out occasion?

Will it be awkward?
Now if you know me at all, you will know i'm very chill, down to earth, an easy breezy kinda gal. 
But having hearing experiences from friends and family and seeing the diagrams in this leaflet i'm not gonna lie, this clam might go back in its shell. 

Will it hurt?
Again from hearing past experiences from others, some say they don't feel any discomfort at all and others say how uncomfortable and slightly painful it can be. I know the nurse will be gentle but i mean, you should see this instrument this leaflet is showing me, it looks like something ann summers would sell in their ''torture'' section if there were to be one.

What the flip do i wear?
With jeans i'm going to be hot and if i'm nervous, my legs might get sweaty which means when coming to the undressing situation, i'll feel all sweaty and like i need a shower, which will make things more awkward, plusssss it will take ages to peeeel them off my legs moments before i have to ''lay down comfortably''.
A skirt would be a better option, i could just hoink it up and be ready in seconds, but it's nearly October! I can't be walking up to the doctors in a summer skirt, i'll get goosebumps and she will think i haven't shaved my legs!

Will she pull the curtain around while i undress?
I'm hoping that theres some sort of curtain to pull round while i get my shizz together. I mean how awkward is it going to be, me standing there all unbalanced while yanking my jeans and knickers off and then ungracefully positioning oneself on the rickity doctors bed with that kitchen roll they usually use that always bloody twists and turns every time you do. 

Do i shave down there?
I am one to prune down below, i just feel a little put together and a little fresher. But, i don't want to shave it allll off do i? Or shall i so i feel a bit cleaner or will she be shook? I can't do a pretty pattern, i'm not talking a vajazzal, but you know, your classic cocktail glass or landing strip? 
Will she even be looking that close? Will she even notice? When do i shave, i don't want that itchy stubble you can get let alone a shaving rash!

So before my appointment, i thought best thing to do is do a little research on it so i'm as prepared as i will ever be to go and strip from the waist down to the local GP nurse.


Cervical screening isn't a test for cancer, it's a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix.

Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

Most of these changes won't lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own.

But in some cases, the abnormal cells need to be removed so they can't become cancerous.

About 3,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK.

It's possible for sexually active women of all ages to develop cervical cancer, although the condition is most common in women aged 25 to 29. The condition is very rare in women under 25.

Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.

Cervical screening isn't 100% accurate and doesn't prevent all cases of cervical cancer, but it's the best way to pick up any abnormal cells that could later turn into cancer.

Screening is a personal choice and you have the right to choose not to attend.

The leaflet with my letter contained points and diagrams about cervical screening. Although still not completely in the know about what will happen as there's only so much detail they can go into, 
I found it motivating as i read, as to why i am going in the first place and how important it is that i attend now and in the future. 

Quite honestly that is all i needed to know. I could have easily but hastily google imaged it and looked at some youtube videos that other women have uploaded with there experiences which is something i wouldn't turn down if your curious too. But knowing why i'm going to a cervical screening in the first place is all the encouragement i need to go into the unknown. I did have a look on the NHS website which has a fantastic video where you are given a much more detailed approach to what to expect from the nurses point of view that what the leaflet contained. 

I know that i'm probably just over thinking it, but it's only natural to be dubious and anxious and this situation when you have never done it before. But knowing that SO many women do this and knowing that the nurses have preformed smear test SO many times, it does but my mind at ease.

So, my appointments tomorrow afternoon, i'll check back into this post and give you my experience. I'm going to go in there and try and remain calm and relaxed in the environment knowing why i am doing this and that the nurse is there to help and who is there as part of a programme that is designed to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer. Isn't it amazing that these nurses are there to do such an incredible thing to help us women. 

See you tomorrow, i'll letcha know how it goes down below.

If your unsure like i was as to what a smear/cervical test is and what to know more, i'll leave the link right HERE which will take you to the official NHS website.

Right, I'm back home, i've had my cuppa and a belvita hazelnut bar that went perfectly well together and here's the part where i tell you what happened when i went to see the nurse who i bared all and sundry too...

So, the day started off well, i wasn't feeling too nervous, still a bit unsure as to what to expect completely but wasn't feeling overly worried.

I had my usual shower in the morning to feel daisy fresh and decided not to scare the poor women and whip of every strand of hair off oneself, i decided to go for the ever so classy martini glass..(basically an upside down triangle if you don't want to google bikini waxing options.)
Also, just before i left for my appointment, i had a quick wash down below with my usual femfresh to make sure i was squeaky clean and feelin' fine.

I opted to wear jeans, casual top and a coat. The coat was an absolute fail, as it happened to be VERY hot today, so having a steady walk up to the GP resulted in me feeling a bit sweaty to say the least.

Signed myself in, went round to the waiting room where only a lady was there and someone in the loo. Finally took my coat off, plocked myself down and began to feel a bit more nervous. The type of nerves you have before you have a blood test or the nerves you get when visiting the dentist the sort that feels like butterflies but not the good ones. So, to try and calm myself down i began researching the best top coats for nails superdrug had to offer, as you do.

After waiting 5 minutes, my name was called electronically through the other waiting room and the nurse came out to greet me. I recognised the nurse from previous appointments and was comforted straight away as she remember me and asked how i was doing since i last spoke to her regarding another matter.

I noticed that there was a curtain, phew. That had a your typical doctors ''bed'' with the annoying tissue that always moves around on.

She confirmed with me that i had been invited to have my smear test, which i was agreed, then passed me over some paper to double check my name and address were correct, so my results would be sent to me correctly. After that, she confirmed with me that i had read through the leaflet and double checked that this was my first time having a cervical screening.

She then said, ''Right if you just want to pop around the curtain, strip from the waist down, pop yourself on the bed with your head at this end and your feet down the other and cover yourself with the tissue provided and just make yourself as comfortable as you can.''
She also said how sometimes it can be difficult to get comfy as it's not the nicest of a experiences but just take your mind elsewhere and when your lay down, she said she'll talk through whats going to happen.

I was immediately put at ease. She knew exactly what to say, knowing it was something i hadn't had done before, she calmed my nerves and really put me at ease.

Admittedly, it was a bit cramped round the curtain and i may have flashed her my bottom a few times but i thought hey, this ladies going to probably see more than i've ever managed to see of down there in a minute so a bum cheek isn't going to hurt... I placed my jeans and underwear underneath my head as a pillow (may as well get comfy) while she washed her hands and put gloves on and grabbed the equipment. I cocked me legs up on the bed thinking to i just lay me legs down or spread my legs, but i just did whatever was natural which my were to have my knees slightly arisen. I placed the tissue over my hips and then she came around the curtain. She said again ''just relax as best you can, again it's easy said than done as it's not most pleasant of experiences, but just take you mind off elsewhere''.

I said, ''I'm going to think of my sister in law'' (easy now, let me finish), i told the nurse how she has just had another little baby boy and if she can do it, i can do this for sure! The nurse laughed and said ''Yes! that's a great thing to think of, this is nothing compared giving birth.'' She then told me to let my body go floppy to just open my knees a little wider. At this point i only caught a glimpse of this tool she was going to use and it looked like something you would baste a turkey with... Also at the bottom of the bed was a light, so i imagine she could everything even more bright and beautiful. As she inserted the turkey basting lookalike instrument she was asking me about my day, which i happily accepted to be a bit of small talk to take my mind off what was going on below deck, which helped, so much!

If your a tampon wear, it basically felt like you was inserting a tampon, but maybe a tampon the size of a smartie tube? She warned me before hand that this next bit might be a little painful and to let her know at any point if it was too much to bare and we can stop.
Then i felt a clamping sensation which not gonna lie, was a little uncomfortable. The more it clamped against me, the slightly more painful it became. But it was nothing that i couldn't bare and just remained calm. I knew that if i was to become tense it would only make the discomfort worse. 

The way i can only explain the clamping/pain sensation is if you have ever had an x-ray in your mouth. I one time had to have one where i put this hard, plastic covered square in my mouth against my cheek that dug right into my gums that was really quite uncomfortable, it felt a but like that but in your vag-a-jay. 

She then told me again how she knows that it can feel uncomfortable but comforted and supported me saying that i was doing really well, which really helps in moments like that more than you would think. She then told me she was taking a swab sample which i didn't feel at all really, only the sensation of her twiddling a stick like you see someone at a fun fair, when they are twiddling up your candy floss on a stick. 

''There we go, all done.'' And she exited my body ever so gently and that was it, finnito. 
She said i hope that wasn't too bad for you, i said '' No, it felt great!'' Quickly realising thats not what i meant to say at all and told her how quick it was over and done with. She left the curtain to clear up and told me that i may experience some spotting which is common and to just wear a panty liner for the next couple of days. 

The whole process from lying on the bed to 'elegantly' getting off the bed was no longer than 3-4 minutes, 5 mins max. 

I popped my clothes back on, while admitting i wish i wore a summer skirt as it was so hot today, we laughed and chatted more about the weather (where was our tea and biscuits) and then that was pretty much it.

She told me that i will receive a letter in the post with my results and again pre-warned me about possible spotting. 
I made sure to thank her for putting me so at ease and for being so gentle, we said our goodbyes and i was on my merry way.

It has been a few hours since my first smear/cervical screening test and i haven't felt any pain whatsoever. Maybe a slight uncomfiness when going to use the loo for the first time but that's it, a little spotting which i doubt will go into the next few days. So all in all, i had nothing to worry about. I knew that i was just over thinking it all but also knew that my worries were only natural as it's something i had never done before. I believe i have to go back every 3 years for another test which now i know what to expect, doesn't worry or concern me at all.

If your worried about your first smear test, then trust me it will all be ok. My mom offered to come with me to support me but i said that i'd be ok and try to brave it on my own. You could ask someone who you trust to go with you too, even if they just wait in the waiting room knowing someone you care for and who cares for you is there in the other room can be of great comfort.

I totally over thought it and I am so thankful and grateful that i had a nurse that made me feel at ease. I can tick this off the to-do list now and take comfort in knowing that i have had a test to detect any abnormalities that could be there which then can be removed to prevent cervical cancer. It is so so important that us ladies go for our regular check ups and not to leave off booking our appointments and sticking the letter in the drawer to come to 'another day'. As soon as your time comes around to booking your smear/cervical screening test, book it! It shall soon be over and done with and you will feel empowered that you have braved it all and have peace of mind knowing that you are keeping an eye on your hoo hars.

Thank you so much for reading, i know it has been a long winded post and has honestly helped me process it all and remember the reason why it is so important to spread awareness and motivation to go to your smear test.

Thank you for joining me on my experience and adventures of my down belows and i'll see you on my next post...

Emilie xx

I just wanted to pop a little p.s... I'm not promising that all experiences are going to be like mine. All of our bodies are so different which means your experience might be different to mine or sally's down the road. But don't let that put you off, something that is so important that takes just a couple of moments to go through really is all worth it in the end.

I'll leave the link HERE again if you need more information on smear/cervical screening tests.
If you are unsure about something with your lady bits even if your under 25, call your GP where you can discuss it all with them. That's what they are there for. <3

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