I’m all for being proactive about my health, but pap smear tests really get my knickers in a knot. Literally.

It takes less time to have a pap smear test than it does for me to choose an ice-cream but, heck, the angst I put myself through beforehand is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

What undies do I wear? Should I wax? Is my foof normal? All of this and more, which is kinda awks.

Anyone else share these nagging pap smear test thoughts? You’re not alone, we all think these things. I’m sure … right?!

A pap smear test (AKA Pap Test or Cervical Screening Test) is just one of those things I book in for at my local GP every few years and just do. I try not to think about it too much. After all, it’s MUCH worse in my head than what it is in real life. I mean, don’t get me wrong it’s no picnic in the park, it’s a little uncomfortable but it’s a short-lived discomfort. Plus, it’s for the greater good. Right?

Ugh.

10 Things About the Pap Smear Test No-One Talks About

1. The great underwear debate

If I wear lacy knickers will my doctor think I’m a horn-bag? If I wear my comfy ‘period knickers’ will my doctor think I’m a grot — plus what if I get run over on the way home? My mum always told me to wear my best knickers, just in case. Ugh, the pressure.

2. Grey pubic hair

Grey is the new black, right?

3. Wax on, wax off, shave or otherwise?

Should I get a wax beforehand or leave things errr.. au natural? What’s even normal when it comes to hair removal these days?

4. The waiting room games

I’m from a very small country town. If I see Uncle Pete and my neighbour in the waiting room and they ask why I’m there will I say “I’m here for a pap smear test” or just run with talk of an ingrown toenail? Thinkin’ the ingrown toenail.

5. Pap smear test curtain antics

When sent behind the curtain to remove my clothing from the waist down should I then lie down and wait? Or keep standing? Perhaps yell out ‘I’M READY?’ like my kids do when they need me to wipe their bums.

6. One size fits all blanket

And that waffle weave blanket! It’s there Every. Single. Time. Is it the same blanket? Do they have a stash of a trillion waffle weaves blankets just hiding in one of the cupboards?

five year cervical cancer test, pap smear test

7. Pap smear small talk

When my knees are up around my ears and my doctor is delving into my lady garden should I make small talk?

So, how’s the weather down there? 

8. How many is too many?

I wonder how many vaginas my doctor sees in a day? How does mine compare? Do I even want to know the answer to that question? Probably not.

pap smear test, vaginas
This many?

9. Fart fears

Please don’t fart, please don’t fart, please don’t fart.

10. And don’t even think about sneezing

It won’t end well.


Actual important things to remember about the pap smear test!

Joking aside, it’s important to check that you have a lovely healthy cervix!

So yes, you must test. You don’t have to have a special doctor, your trusted GP can do a screening test! And you know what – you don’t have to go by yourself (take a friend, your mum or sister and ask them to wait with you) and go out for coffee/lunch/a few wines afterward to high-five yourself.

Also, if it’s been a while since your last pap smear, you should know that the biannual ‘pap tests’ of old are no longer. The Australian Government has updated the cervical screening program for women and we now have an even BETTER, SAFER and more EFFECTIVE test – the Cervical Screening Test.

Doctor consoling a woman in red checkers touching her hand and shoulder, pap smear test

So what’s changed?

The Cancer Council says the new changes recognise the introduction in 2006 of a vaccine against specific strains of the human papillomavirus, which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. The new screening program is designed to work together with the HPV vaccination program, to help reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

What you need to know about the new Cervical Screening Test:

  • The new Cervical Screening Test will now look for HPV (which causes almost all cervical cancers), not just abnormal cells (like the old pap smear test did)
  • If you have previously had a pap smear test – you should have your first HPV screening test two years after your last pap test
  • With the new Cervical Screening Test, you will only need to screen every five years after your first HPV test
  • The starting age for the first test will be done at 25, rather than 18.

So while you’re not getting out of it – you’re getting a lot more from your test. Plus, you don’t have to have it as frequently.


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Author

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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