A pap smear is much harder than, “Turn your head and cough.” Nevertheless, women should have a pap smear annually because they are extraordinarily effective in detecting cervical cancer early. The earlier the cancer is detected the better chance of a patient’s survival. How do you make this dreaded annual test easier so you don’t avoid it altogether? Eagle’s Landing OB/GYN offers the following tips.
Avoid Your Period
It’s best to schedule your pap smear when you aren’t having your period. This prevents additional pain for some women caused by the test over and above your menstrual cramps. Schedule your pap smear during the two weeks prior to your period, preferably more toward your menstrual cycle’s middle.
Don’t come in for your pap smear in your tightest pair of jeans and a body-hugging top. You need to have a sense of comfort to help you relax before and during the test. Wear comfortable clothing so you feel comfortable, and ask for a woman doctor, too, if that eases your mind. Be as relaxed as you can.
Women’s vaginas come in different sizes and you might be suffering through a pap smear because the speculum is too large. You can always ask for a smaller speculum to help reduce the discomfort of the test. Ask to put it in yourself, too, if you think this will make the test easier. You know your vagina.
Position Matters, Too
A simple change in positioning might also make a pap smear less painful. Some women tolerate the procedure better by lying on their sides or they place their hands underneath their rears and press down. Just like sex, different positions can decrease any discomfort you feel in your vagina.
Take Care of You
Finally, don’t be afraid to take care of you throughout the test. If the test is difficult because you’ve been sexually assaulted, tell your doctor in advance and take the time you need to stay calm throughout the pap smear. Bring a friend for support if that helps. You come first, so take care of yourself.
Pap smears do not have to be as bad as they have historically been if you keep calm, communicate with the doctor, and take advantage of the support mechanisms you need. Schedule your next pap smear at Eagle’s Landing OB/GYN in Stockbridge, GA, by calling 770-474-1919. We understand how intimidating this procedure is and we promise to be gentle.