Due for a cervical screening test? Read on to know how the test is performed.
The cervical screening test is performed in order to check the health of the cervix. This test helps detect any abnormal changes in the cervix cells and thereby prevent cervical cancer from developing. Women in the age group of 25 to 65 years are advised to undergo this test every 3-5 years or else as advised by their general practitioner.
If you are due for a cervical screening test, here’s a list of don’ts before the test:
|Cervical Screening Test Trivia
Research suggests that up to 4,500 lives will be saved each year in England by cervical screening.
Past statistics show that around nine out of 10 cervical test reports are normal.
In one in 40 tests, the cells cannot be seen properly under the microscope and the test must be taken again.
- Do not get the test done during your periods, since it is difficult to examine the cervix properly during such days.
- Do not get the test done when you are pregnant. This test is in such cases performed three months post delivery.
- Avoid the use of tampons, creams, jelly or other medicines in your vagina two days before the test, as chemicals in such products affect the test.
- Avoid having sex 24 hrs before the test.
The test procedure
The cervical screening test or smear test will be performed by a qualified and well trained doctor or nurse. One needs to undress waist down for the test. This test lasts only a few minutes and involves the following steps:
- The patient needs to lie on her back on an examination table, with knees bent and then spread apart.
- The GP may do a pelvic examination, to rule out other problems.
- The GP will then place a instrument called speculum into the vagina, to hold it open.
- A plastic stick with a brush at its end is then used to pick up some cells from the cervix.
- These cells will immediately be preserved and then dispatched to the laboratory for examination.
This test may make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but is generally not a painful one. Sometimes one may experience slight bleeding after this test, however if you experience a lot of plain or heavy bleeding post the test, you must consult your GP.
The cervical screening test results are either normal or abnormal; abnormal report does not always mean cancer and there could be several other reasons as to why the test reports are not normal.
One must preserve their cervical screening reports at least for a period of 10 years as that helps in comparing the latest test results with those in the previous years.
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