Many women dread the words Smear Test has we know that this can be uncomfortable and many of us are guilty at avoiding this test for as long as possible. This can be a big mistake for a few moments of slight discomfort we are reassured that we have a healthy cervix, which is one more worry for us ladies to be free of . For a small majority of us you may receive a call back for further investigations.
I have recently been experiencing lower pubic pain and some flank pain in my back so I thought that I had a UTI and my GP treated me for this but my urine specimen came back negative and only a small amount of blood was found. The symptoms continued and then I had two small shows of dark discharge within a few weeks and I thought this was unusual as I was post menopausal and was not sexual active. I was due a smear test around about th same time so my GP decided that I needed a fast track appointment with the gynaecologist at my hospital.
We had just finished lockdown so highly delighted to have the appointment within a week that would include a meeting with a doctor or nurse , a scan and a Colposcopy – a procedure to look at the cervix , the lower part of the womb. It enables the doctor or nurse to look more closely at abnormal or pre cancerous cells in your cervix.
HPV – Human Papillomavirus is the name of a common virus and this can cause Cervical Cancer. It infects the skin and any moist membrane such as the cervix, the lining of the mouth and throat , the vagina, vulva and anus.
HPV is usually passed on through sexual contact but this is nothing to be ashamed of as this virus lives on the skin , so easy to get and difficult to completely protect against.
The Symptoms to look out for are to consult a GP are:
- Pain or bleeding after intercourse
- If you notice bleeding between periods or during/after sex, especially for women in meopause , you should book an appointment with a doctor straightaway.
- pain in your pelvis and pain during sex
- a dark or bad-smelling vaginal discharge .
Age when you are invited for smears are:
Under 25 years up to 6 months before you turn 25
25-49 years every 3 years
50-64 years every 5 years
65 or over only if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal
Remember these are only guidelines as if you have any of the abnormal symptoms the you will need to contact a GP as soon as you can.