The Papanicolaou test or as our title says, a Smear test, more commonly referred to as a Cervical Smear can prove to be extremely uncomfortable for women and the fear being they don’t want to put their lives into danger. The basic answer to hating these tests and missing them, lies in the procedure of the test itself.
What is smear test you ask me?
Smear Test is a cervical screening method used with the objective to detect potential pre-cancerous and cancerous tissues or cells in the cervix. The test starts with opening of the vaginal canal with the help of a speculum and the cells at the cervix is then collected through the outer end of the speculum at the transformation zone. It is where the outer squamous cervical cells come in contact with the inner glandular endocervical cells. The collected cells are examined under a microscope to look for abnormalities. The test aims to detect potentially pre-cancerous changes. The test remains an effective, widely used method for early detection of pre-cancer and cervical cancer. By far, only US recommends this test for women of age 21 to 65. Other countries only recommend it if you’re sexually active.
Why are women missing out on these tests?
Although these tests aren’t 100% effective, they have proven to be reliable in saving millions of women by detecting cancer at the early stage. So, what could be the possible reason women miss out on it? The foremost being, the uncomfortable procedure. There’s no need in mentioning that this procedure is in fact very uncomfortable. Women feel uncomfortable taking off their clothes and getting this test done.
Another major reason that contributes to it, is body image issues. Women often tend to be uncertain about their body image or are unhappy with it. This uncertainty of the Vagina looking bad or smelling different is stopping women from attending this life saving test.
A third reason, though not felt by all women is still a major cause. Some women give their first experience as positive while the others give it out as negative and painful. There are reasons why a smear test is painful for some women and not for the others. However, the reviews that go out are influential enough to stop other young women from taking this test.
While smear tests can be painful (for some) and uncomfortable, it is indeed crucial for women to keep up with their smear tests as it could be life saving.