Overdue smear test

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hi there signed up to this forum to ask some advice. I am 4 years overdue for a smear test as I have been avoiding it as I feel I don't need one as I have never been sexually active before, and I just feel a bit embarrassed to go to doctors and tell them I have never been sexually active before as I am 24 years old.

Now i hadn't been to doctors for many years and today I was there (nothing to do with smear test) and the doctor mentioned to me that I haven't been for a smear test and I should book an appointment. But I never said to her that I have never been sexually active before.

I do plan to book an appointment for a smear but I just feel nervous when I say to her I have never been sexually active before. So it's really just to see if anyone been for a smear test who never been sexually active before and if it was a problem and still able to get smear test. Sorry for long message thanks

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Please go and have a smear. A doctors shouldn't judge you for not being sexual active before.

    My moto is eyes, teeth and min - always keep these in check!!!

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  • Posted

    You are not overdue for a smear test if you live in the UK, as these do not start until age 25, so I'm not sure why you think you are "overdue". The smear test is to check for abnormalities in cells on the cervix caused by the HPV virus, which is a sexually transmitted disease. If you have not had penetrative sex with a man who has the HPV virus, you are in no danger of the HPV virus getting onto your cervix, and a smear test would be a pointless exercise.

    You are under no obligation to have smears, as screening is entirely an option and a choice on your part. Your doctor is wrong to tell you, this must be carried out on your body, when you have not given consent for the procedure. The leaflet which is sent out to UK women says quite clearly, it is your choice whether to take up your invitation or not. Neither is it any of your doctors business, whether you are a virgin or not.

    In the UK GPs get incentives to pressurise women into having smears, which I think is wrong, as it is not putting patients first.

    My last smear was in 1997!

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  • Posted

    Thanks for reply and yeh am from scotland and it is age of 20 you get a smear test. Hopefully I will book appointment soon and just go and get it done and over with
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    • Posted

      I've just checked online, and Scotland will be raising the age of smear tests to 25 on 1st April 2016, the same as England. I thought it was this year that Scotland had raised the age.

      It's a pity you have been caught out by 1 year.

       

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  • Posted

    A smear also can check for cervical cancer. It's a nerve wracking thing but good to get checked out.
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    • Posted

      HPV is the virus you need to have first before cervical cancer can develop. It is estimated that up to 40% of women will get this virus, usually when they first become sexually active in their 20's, but in nearly all cases the woman will clear the virus herself, within a year or two without ever knowing she had it.

      In a very small number of cases the virus persists, and can develop into something more serious, and for reasons we don't quite know why, cervical cancer may develop. The smear test is used to monitor these changes, before they get serious, but it isn't entirely accurate. In women in their 20's it is less than 50% accurate, as women experience a lot of infections for the first time at this age. For this reason some countries like the Netherlands don't think it is right to smear test women under 30 and don't offer it until that age, so a lot of women end up getting treatment for something which would have cleared up by itself.

      Hence the reason for raising the screening age.

      There are different types of cervical cancer, and some are more dangerous than others. Adenocarcinomas are an aggressive, but rare type, and grow below the surface where the cells are scraped for the smear test, so some women with adenocarcinomas will have a normal smear test, but still have cancer. The accuracy of the smear test, gets more accurate as women get older but only gets about 70% accurate for women in their 50's. Because the test is so inaccurate, they keep repeating it, throughout a woman's life to get a better idea of a woman's risk of getting the disease.

      Testing women for the HPV virus after age 30 would be a much better test. HPV tests can be done at home with a self test kit, and those who test negative can forget about having to have smear tests, as they cannot get cervical cancer all the while they are negative. They are rolling this programme out in the Netherlands next January, and this is what we should be doing here in the UK right now, IMHO.

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  • Posted

    Completely agree with Informed

    Please be careful agreeing to smear tests, if you've never been sexually active you're only risking your health. The risks are fairly high too, false positives are more likely in women under 30....that can lead to colposcopy and biopsy. (or over-treatment)

    No need to tell the doctor you're a virgin, none of her business, just say you've considered the matter and decided not to have them. You understand the Medical Council have said screening is a choice, we're free to accept or refuse it as we see fit...and that informed consent is necessary for all testing.

    The mention of the Medical Council should work well.

    Unfortunately, many GPs pressure women to screen, this is wrong and should be challenged, (I'd also, report a doctor acting this way) also, they receive target payments for smear tests, this is unethical IMO, this potential conflict of interest should be mentioned to women.

    I can go one better than informed...I've just turned 57 and have never had a smear test, an informed decision.

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  • Posted

    thanks for the help appreciated
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  • Posted

    Hi Smith

    I was in a simular situation to you, due a smear but never been sexually active. I took the approach of ignoring the situation and hoping it would go away at first, and just ignored the letters, but constantly worried if I was risking my health because of it (I've always taken every possible screening test or precaution as they're there for a reason), but then I read up on the smears and HPV, and realised if you've never been sexually active you cannot have HPV, and almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, and infact a lot of places now just test the smear for HPV, and if that is negative don't even look at the cells anymore, cervical cancer without HPV is just that uncommon! I therefore opted not to have smears, partly because it seems completely unnecessary, and partly because if you've never been sexually active I bet the speculum things hurt like anything!! If I ever get any irregular abnormal bleeding, and when I become sexually active I will be straight down to the surgery for my smear, but until then I have taken the informed decision that it will not add anything to reducing my risk of cancer.

    That is the main thing. It needs to be your decision, and you need to be comfortable with that decision. I personally would definately say anyone who has been sexually active should have it.

    Hope that is of some help. :-)

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  • Posted

    Thanks again for all your advice. Got an appointment tomorrow for smear test although I will explain to nurse when I get there the situation. But hopefully I can just get it done just to be on safe side although I have been so nervous about it since I booked it so hopefully I can just get it done then everyone can stop reminding me I need to get one done.
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  • Posted

    Just back from doctors had my smear test done. I explained to her about me not being sexually active etc and she said it was up to me if I prefer to get it done then. I said I would just like to get it done to get over with. So so glad it's over with, it was painful a bit but I expected it to be a bit but it was over with in minutes. Finally I can relax after being up for hours this morning thinking about it. Although I expect it to be normal at least now I know what it is like for next time.
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