August is Women’s Month and for a brief moment we are going to step away from all that is COVID-19 related and focus on ourselves as Women
FEAR OF THE PAP SMEAR
If you suffer from vagina related angst when that dreaded fear of the smear kicks in, Desiree Munn, the Practice Manager of Blouberg Family Practice shares some humorous and helpful tips below to help ease the anxiety that is so commonly shared amongst women.
Do you fear your smear? Does your mind conjure up these weird images of your ‘vajayjay’ going into spasm like a clam when you realise it’s time for that dreaded pap smear? Or, do you perhaps feel like your car, that is going in for its annual service and the mechanic is not quite sure which size tool to use? Most women naturally have these fears and I’m here to reassure you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Did you know that skipping your smear test is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer? If you can relate to any of the above feelings, then the best advice I can suggest is to find yourself a female Health Practitioner who takes a special interest in Women’s Health. Someone that is warm, open and funny.
It helps to arrive a little early so that you can familiarise yourself with the surroundings. A full bladder does not help, as this increases the pressure in the pelvic area increasing your discomfort, so ask to use the bathroom if needed. Most practices will want to collect a urine sample anyway to test for infections and pregnancy. Your consultation will likely run late because you will want to share every problem you have had with her. Based on our patients experience, by the time they have their smear they’re so relaxed that they can’t even recall being anxious anymore. Talk to her. “Remember she is a Women, she understands”. She is known in our practice for being great at pap smears. A smear shouldn’t be painful, but can feel a little uncomfortable from the pressure of the speculum. She will know what size speculum to use as she would have done an internal examination before to determine what size to use and to check for signs of an infection.
Here are some additional tips to help make your pap smear more comfortable and ease your fears
1. Wear comfortable clothes that allows for easy accessible to the pelvic and vaginal area.
2. If it’s during winter, make sure you are warm and ask them to warm up the room if it’s cold.
3. Distract yourself if you are still nervous, listen to music on your phone, chat or sing.