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This might sound like a bit of an odd question, but do I need to have a cervical smear? I'm 20. Never had one before.<br><br><br><br>
The last couple of times I have been to the doctor, she has mentioned that I should probably have one. I have put it off so far. The thing is, I'm really really really terrified. I was just reading another post where speculums were referred to as "shoehorns for the vagina."<br><br><br><br>
I'm terrified, so my question is, how necessary are they? Can I get away with putting it off for a few more years? If I do need to get one, any advice for getting over being scared/embarassed?<br><br><br><br>
Thanks!
 

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*chuckles* at the shoehorn reference..it's just that they look a bit like a shoehorn.<br><br><br><br>
If you're not sexually active (and never have been) and you aren't experiencing any gynecological problems, you could probably put it off a bit. That said, I'm a firm believer in the benefit of smears. It's the easiest way to test for abnormal cells.<br><br><br><br>
There's a description here of what an average pelvic exam involves: <a href="http://www.coolnurse.com/pelvic_exams.htm" target="_blank">http://www.coolnurse.com/pelvic_exams.htm</a> It sounds a bit scary, but I think it's important to remember that the whole thing lasts maybe 10 minutes (probably less). The PAP smear part is about 5 seconds.<br><br><br><br>
It definitely feels weird the first time you go, and your feet are in stirrups, but the doctor/nurse will know how you feel and can help ease your mind a bit, especially if you tell them it's the first time you've had this exam.<br><br><br><br>
Despite the shoehorn comment, I wouldn't worry about pain at all. It might feel strange, but the only part that causes me any physical discomfort is the collection of the cells for the cervical smear (which again is a matter of seconds).<br><br><br><br>
Then afterward, you can treat yourself to some chocolate. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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as jen said, if you're low risk, not sexually active, and have no problems that might have a gynocological origin, then you needn't do a pap smear.<br><br><br><br>
in the future, you may decide that you can do your own self-care well enough to determine if you ever need a pap smear. or, when you do need one, you'll know when to schedule the smear so that you're more likely to get a 'real' result, rather than the false positives/negatives that are most common (when you get the test during your cycle gives better, or rather more accurate, results).<br><br><br><br>
to learn more about your cycle and your gynocological and general health, check out <a href="http://gardenoffertility.com" target="_blank">Fertility Charting</a>.
 

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If you are 20, and have ever been sexually active, then you need to have a pap. A friend of mine discovered in her mid twenties that she had cervical cancer, thanks to a pap. She is alive today because of it.<br><br><br><br>
You do not need to be "scared to death", it is really not bad at all. I've had it done many times in my life and its nothing at this point, I don't even mind it at all. Tell your doctor you are very nervous, that it is your first one, and I bet they will be very good to you. I will be getting one in a few weeks because i am pregnant, you should get one too, we can be pap buddies :) Seriously it is not bad at all. Have you ever had a strep culture done? I find that much more painful than a pap.
 

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Every woman should get one once a year. It is always better to be safe then sorry, especially in such a vulnerable and important area of the body. Warts can develop on the cervix and cause no symptoms whatsoever for a woman but still be transferable to a partner. If left undetected/untreated it can cause a person to become sterile. I agree that they aren't exactly fun. I'm having my annual exam next week, and it definitely makes me uncomfortable. But it is very quick and virtually painless. And you just have to remind yourself that the doctors who do them have done hundreds and therefore there's no need to be worried. If you value caring for yourself, then caring for your health by visiting the doctor regularly is very important. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Every woman goes through it, and you're not alone.
 

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As I already mentioned, not all STD's or health problems have self-diagnosable symptoms, and actually most do not. Especially cervical and/or reproductive problems. It is much better to be safe then sorry regardless of if you are sexually active or not. Part of being a woman is taking responsibility for caring for your health, therefore it is a good idea to get in the habit of going to the doctor regularly to practice good preventative self-care.
 

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The baseline for a non-sexually active, healthy woman is generally 21. That is, that's when the (conservative Western medicine) recommendation is to have your first smear. This is why I said that the op could probably wait a bit.<br><br><br><br>
I do believe that while you can self diagnose many things wrt cervical tissue, you can not detect them as soon as you (possibly) could with a smear/microscopic examination.
 

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<span style="font-family:'Century Gothic';"><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><b>Hey rat love, check out this site I found the other day-it has loads of useful info;</b></span></span></span><br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.womenshealthlondon.org.uk/leaflets/cervical/cervprint.html" target="_blank">http://www.womenshealthlondon.org.uk...cervprint.html</a>
 

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Most info will recommend you get a pap by the time you are sexually active ( actually within 3 years of becoming active ) or turn 21........it used to be 18........after that you should have one every year, if you have normal ones 3 years in a row you can go for one every 3 years, BUT if you are sexually active with more than one partner or your partner is they will recommend once a year. but the norm recommendation in your age range is once every 3 yrs.
 

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Your kidding?..not worry about the pain?. I got a pap swear thinking it was this innocent little test. Ok first off getting the pap swear test caused me to cry from the pain and then later I lay around with genital oriented pain for about two or three days.<br><br><br><br>
I want to point out that that this doesn't happen to everyone. This is going to be obvious given the other posts. I do think someone who has never had one needs to know. You know just in case they had plans they have to cancel afterwards.<br><br><br><br>
Ok, as others said being sexually active is a big part of it. I'm going to guess if you are sexually active you are already sticking "something" in there so it won't hurt as much.
 

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eclipse the pap should not hurt or cause pain, it will be uncomfortable especially if you are not sexually active. but it should never be so painful to cause pain for days afterward as well!<br><br>
the doc should have different size speculums to use .............if someone is not sexually active i would choose a small one for that person obviously,<br><br>
the key advice i can give is to relax, because if you are tensing up down there it makes it difficult for them to insert the speculum therefore would prob cause some pain..........to paint the picture if you are tensing up you are squeezing and the opening becomes harder to navigate.<br><br>
so relax, relax relax, think good thoughts and just relax and its over quickly.<br><br>
there should be a nurse in the room with you as well.
 
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Eclipse- i think you're a bit of a special case here- i know you've mentioned having lots of other issues in this area, and i think they're probably very likely related to how you experienced this test, i'd hate for the OP to freak about an exam which is very likely to be a complete breeze for her.<br><br><br><br>
when i had my first smear test (same as what you call a pap tests in the states) having not had a great deal of stuff 'stuck in there' prior to it (i think i'd had sex maybe twice in my life at the time) i was still fine, and just found it marginably uncomfortable, as all of my friends seem to have as well.<br><br><br><br>
from what i've heard and experienced, if you're as relaxed and calm as you can be for any proceedure (say, dentist visit level jittery and relaxed) and you don't have any physical or emotional issues in the area, for the vast majority of women its simply a case of lying down with your knees apart (i never had stirrups) while a trained professional inserts a small device and collects a small sample- you feel a slight pressure and a slightly odd feeling as she does a wiggle and swipe with a little brush- and its all done in 20 seconds. some people might have a little spotting and feel slightly delicate in the area for a couple hours max, as the skin that they took the sample from is very delicate, but i wouldn't say it was anywhere near painful- i've had zits on my chin that hurt 10x more.<br><br><br><br>
I understand that for you the exam was a somewhat traumatic experience, and i do empathise, but i thankfully haven't met anyone apart from yourself who had such an extreme reaction, and am very hopeful that the OP won't have one either.
 
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and bonoluvr- very good point about the relaxing the area, lol... i mean, if you go to the dentist, and when you get there you clench your mouth shut, i'd say they'd have trouble putting anything in there, and no matter how gentle they were, it'd probably not feel very comfortable while they tried- same with a gyno exam!
 

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Agreed with the above posters. I've been around a lot of women getting exams (when I worked at a shelter), and haven't heard of anyone having pain that long. I do remember one person saying she was sore later the same day. I think you got a raw deal, Eclipse. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>rat love</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
I was just reading another post where speculums were referred to as "Shoehorns for the vagina"<br><br>
Thanks!</div>
</div>
<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:"> SORRY. That was me.<br><br><br><br>
I've had a million of them. I had cervical dysplasia. They're really not a big deal. People make them out to be so much more than they are.
 

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A pap smear of course.<br><br><br><br>
I read on another MB that someone was in such pain from getting a pap smear that they passed out. So I am not someone just recalling an isolated incident as someone tried to point out.<br><br><br><br>
Should..could...whatever, but the truth of it should be heard even if it's unpleasent. I wish I someone warned me that this was going to be so painful. I never said painful for everyone but it definatly is painful for some people.<br><br><br><br>
As for comparing clenching your mouth shut VS trying to close your genital orafices, that makes no sense whatever. Your mouth has voluntary muscles to open and shut.<br><br><br><br>
I don't recall anything from my studies in anatomy that you can physically close your genital orafices voluntarily.
 
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I don't recall anything from my studies in anatomy that you can physically close your genital orafices voluntarily.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
have you ever heard of doing pelvic floor/kegel excercises?<br><br><br><br>
While i don't believe you can totally close your 'genital orafices' you can definately tell the difference between squeezing these muscles and not, by the effect they have on the muscles of the vaginal wall - stuff does close-up somewhat if you squeze 'em- which would definately hinder insertation of a shoe horn (lol) and cause a degree of discomfort, no doubt.<br><br><br><br>
this page outlines them, and how to do them, if you're interested:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/womenshealth/sui/pelvicfloor_005167.htm" target="_blank">http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/womenshea...oor_005167.htm</a>
 

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Eclipse, I don't doubt that your experience (and others mentioned) were painful, but I do think it shouldn't be that way, assuming there are no other gynecological abnormalities, etc. I don't think that I'm particularly brave or anything about pain (in fact, I'm kind of a wuss sometimes), so that makes me think that maybe this is about how the smear was performed than about your tolerance level.
 
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