‘It’s over in seconds’
“I often see women who think the test will be very painful, but most women describe just a little discomfort, and it’s over in seconds. If you’re experiencing more pain than expected, make sure you tell the nurse or GP, as it may be possible for them to use a smaller speculum. It’s also important to tell your GP if you’re nervous, or if you have any reason to find the experience particularly traumatic, such as a previous sexual assault. The more information your doctor has, the easier it is for them to make the experience as positive as possible.
“Crucially, there is no need to be embarrassed. As GPS, we’re not thinking about how you look down there – we just want to do the best test possible. And if you get a letter asking you to return for further tests, don’t panic. It could be something as simple as not enough cells have been collected.”