Hi everyone,

I’ve reached the age in my country (England) to be called up for my first cervical smear test, however I have severe anxiety/phobic issues relating to gynocology exams, and it doesn’t help that in high-anxiety situations I go non-verbal.

A couple of years ago I found online a test which (I remember) allowed people to collect a sample of cells and send them off for analysis, but when I need to use it — surprise, surprise — it’s disappeared (it now seems to have been replaced on the site by the HPV vaccine, which informs me that it would be pretty much useless for me). The closest I can find is the Tampap test which analyses whether you have HPV, not whether you have abnormal or pre-cancerous cells. The statistics all sound well and good, but it still leads to the possibility of a positive result and still having to work around my anxiety.

So, my questions are two-fold:

1) Has anyone used this test previously (I am aware it’s only been available for about six months)? What kind of follow-up instructions were given.

2) Does anyone have any knowledge on where I could get access to a home smear test in the UK (I’m not concerned about the cost unless it runs in to the hundreds of pounds) or when the home test may be available?

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4 Responses to Home Cervical Smear Test?

  1. TreNo says:

    Hiya,

    I’m afraid I’ve never used the test, and a bit of Googling some likely sites didn’t bring up anything obvious.

    However whatever age you are, you do only need a smear test if you’ve been sexually active. So if you haven’t, then don’t worry about going. They’ll call you automatically, and you’ll keep getting letters, I’m afraid (the NHS don’t seem to believe anyone won’t have been sexually active, not matter what you tell them, as my old flatmate found out). Obviously that may not be the case for you, in which case, sorry I can’t be more helpful.

    I would recommend going along to your local family planning (or CASH clinic) and talking to them, if you have worries – don’t go for a smear test, obviously, just for a chat. They might be able to tell you about home tests. I go to them for all my gyno/sexual health needs, and they’ve always been totally brilliant (I would never go to my GP, as he just isn’t an expert in such things). Explain your anxieties and that you understand the need for testing, but can’t go through with it in the traditional way. They might have an answer! You can definitely do a chlamydia test yourself (you get a kit to do it yourself, either there, or take it home with you).

    Sorry I can’t be more help 🙁 I hope you find a solution.

  2. Noszoa says:

    I have been sexually active for about a year (my partner and I have only had sex with each other, putting me in a lower-chance category, I think?).

    I’ll see if I can make a visit to a clinic (although I may have the same issue regarding going non-verbal). Thanks.

  3. TreNo says:

    Can you take your partner with you? I’m terrified of doctors, but weirdly not of the family planning ones! So I try to take my partner with me when I go, and last time he couldn’t come I broke down in tears at the doctor, because I was so stressed out.

    (It sucks at the mo, as I’ve got pleurisy and keep having to go back.)

    I took my partner to FamPlan when I had my IUD inserted (and have on other occasions, too), and the nurse and doctor were lovely to him and checked he was okay and wasn’t going to faint! So maybe it would be really helpful if your partner – or a friend, or relative, or anyone you trust – could go with you, and you can explain to them how stressed you feel about it, and then if you go non verbal you know that they’ll understand and be able to explain to the doc and get you out – if need be. But sometimes just having someone ‘on your side’ can really help out with how it makes you feel.

    I wish you luck, and nice friendly doctors 🙂

  4. EciGirl says:

    Seconding this. Also, bringing a list of things you want to ask about can really help – I’ve been doing that since I was a kid (I have various conditions and see a lot of doctors), because I get so easily sidetracked once I’m in there, even if I’m not actually nervous! You don’t have to be self-conscious about this – I usually say to them when they ask me how I am/what I’ve come about something like, “I’ve just made a couple of notes so I don’t forget to mention anything,” and that makes me relaxed about having to refer to the list during the conversation.

    Good luck; I hope you get some nice, supportive medical staff. 🙂

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