Are you feeling worried or anxious about your smear test? We’re here to reassure you and to let you know what to expect.
A smear test might sound super scary but we’re here to reassure you. Also known as cervical screening, it’s a simple and painless test to check the health of your cervix. It only takes a few minutes and can be a lifesaver when it comes to preventing cancer.
All women with a cervix who are aged 25-64 will be invited for regular screening. If you’re feeling very anxious about going for your smear test you may be tempted to cancel the appointment but it’s important not to miss these appointments as they can be lifesaving. We’re here to help you manage your anxiety to help get those nerves under control!
Talk It Out
Chat to a friend or family member who has had a smear test before your appointment. This will give you a chance to ask any questions you might have and put any worries to rest. It can also help give you an idea of what to expect from your appointment. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about this with someone you know, you can ask your doctor or a health professional any questions you may have. Read more about talking about mental health here.
Focus on your breathing to keep your anxiety in check – before, during and after your appointment. Take long, deep breaths and imagine your stress floating out of your body with every exhale. Discover more ways to cope with anxiety here.
Grounding techniques help to connect you to the here and now when you feel overwhelmed by feelings of panic and anxiety. These techniques use your five senses to ‘ground’ you and allow you to take control of your feelings. Here’s a great grounding technique to use while you’re in the waiting room or lying back on the bed:
Look at your surroundings and describe them in detail. You can do this in your head or quietly under your breath. Look at the pattern on the carpet or the fabric on the chair, a poster on the wall…. Think about the colours, the fabrics, the textures…
Discover more grounding techniques here.
Remember, it’s normal to feel embarrassed about someone looking at your vagina. Most people will feel some level of embarrassment. What’s important to keep in mind is that the doctor/nurse has quite literally seen hundreds, if not thousands, of vaginas and that carrying out a smear test is just a regular part of their day. During the appointment, don’t be afraid to say if you feel uncomfortable, nervous or anxious – they will do everything they can to reassure you and make you feel comfortable.
To learn more about smear tests and find out exactly what to expect during your appointment, click here.