We know they can sound a little scary, and perhaps a bit invasive but we’re here to tell you, it’s really not that bad! Yasmeen went for her first cervical screening last month and here’s her low down on the whole thing…
You don’t need to book
The process of cervical screening is actually fairly simple. Roughly six months before your 25th birthday you will receive a letter in the post stating that you are now able to book your appointment through your GP or sexual health clinic.
There is nothing to do before your appointment except actually attend. Before the exam starts the clinician will explain all about the screening.
It’s Not a Test for Cancer
The test is done to detect the four most common HPV strains that cause cell changes
The test is done to detect the four most common HPV strains that cause cell changes. There are over 200 variants but they only screen for the most common.
The HPV Vaccine is Free
Some people got an HPV jab in school which helps to prevent cervical cancer. If you didn’t get the jab, as many did, you can get the first vaccine on the day of your appointment for free if you’re under 25!
It’s really not that bad
The actual procedure of brushing along the cervix didn’t hurt at all for me but the speculum can feel a bit uncomfortable.
If it is painful or unbearable the doctor will happily stop and try again when you feel better. So make sure to let them know!
It’s Super Quick!
After explaining the procedure you then do the actual exam. The whole process was over in less than a minute or two.
The test itself involved lying on your back and sitting in a frog-like position (if you’ve ever had a Brazilian wax you would’ve done this before) the clinician then takes a plastic speculum and inserts it and takes a brush that resembles a scrub daddy and she brushes your cervix for about 15 seconds.
And so are the results…
My results took less than a week to come back but it can take up to two weeks for them to arrive. I received my results by text – which was super convenient.
And for two minutes which could save your life, it’s so worth it.
There are three outcomes of your results. Firstly, there’s no detection, so your next screening will be in 3 years, or if something has been detected you will be referred to your local hospital for further testing.
I was worried before but really it’s nothing to fear! And for two minutes which could save your life, it’s so worth it.