Severe pap smear anxiety

Posted , 6 users are following.

So I'm 27

Still a virgin

And the pap smear letter came for me today. I have now had 4 seperate anxiety episodes in under 24 hours been crying on and off and feel very very scared. The thought of anyone just looking at my vagina or even touching it just makes me want to projectile vomit. Should I even go and get it done if it has made me this anxious and upset.

0 likes, 5 replies

Report / Delete

5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Catherine

    Relax....pap testing is not recommended for virgins, that's women who've had no genital contact, the test would be risk for no benefit for you. False positives are an issue with this testing, especially for younger women, so pap testing can also mean excess biopsy and over-treatment.

    The risk of false positives also rises with over-screening, here in Australia we have early and over-screening so we have huge and hidden over-treatment/excess biopsy rates. (most of this damage was avoidable if we'd followed the evidence and respected informed consent for women) Excess provides no additional benefit to women.

    Some countries don't offer pap tests to sexually active women until they're 30, the evidence does not support testing before 30. (The Netherlands and Finland, they have good results without the shocking levels of over-treatment)

    Also, there are far better ways to deal with this small risk, cervical cancer has always been fairly rare and was in natural decline before pap testing even started. (lifetime risk 0.65%)

    The Dutch evidence-backed program is 5 HPV tests or HPV self-testing at 30,35,40,50 and 60 and only the roughly 5% who are HPV+ are offered a 5 yearly pap test (until they test HPV-)

    I'd suggest you do some reading, once you're informed, your anxiety should fade away. I don't test, an informed decision made many years ago.

    If you're in the UK, you can lodge an opt out form so you don't receive any more letters, in the States and Australia it's more difficult, you have to stand firm in the consult room or find a doctor who'll respect your right to choose, it's a legal right, informed consent.

    I'll PM you a link to a website that will give you lots of real information.

    So please don't worry...

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Jade Goody had an adenocarcinoma, a type of cervical cancer usually missed by pap testing. (the smear/pap test was designed to pervent/detect squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix)

      So using Jade Goody to sell pap testing is dishonest, women with adenocarcinoma often get a false negative pap test, this can falsely reassure and lead to a delay in seeing a doctor for symptoms. (and a later diagnosis and poorer prognosis)

      I find it unacceptable that these programs will use anything to get women into screening EXCEPT real information, the evidence.

      I'm sure if more women were aware of the evidence they'd choose not to screen, not to screen as often or later or they'd use something better, like HPV testing (if they're 30 or older) or they might even use HPV self-testing. In other words, they could exercise some control over their health and make an informed decision about screening, the law and proper ethical standards say that's required for all cancer screening, but IMO, it's never been respected for women. (we get pressure, orders, coercion, scary stories etc.)

      When you're trying to prevent a rare cancer with an unreliable test like the pap test you have to test a LOT of women (they aim for about 80% of the target population) on a regular basis. I believe (at the outset) they knew they'd have to presssure a lot of women into testing, so they painted the test as a must and kept all risk and real information out of sight. Choice, consent and informed were never mentioned...amazingly, some women still believe pap tests are mandatory, like a law!

      So that's why we get a screening "story"...they don't let the evidence get in the way of a good screening "story" especially a scary screening story.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi ,no do not have the test and don`t be bullied by a doctor or nurse.If they try to force you tell them you will make a formal complaint.
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Catherine

    Wait until your fully ready because if you have never had anything down there then it will be very painful. I was abused several years ago and I cant have an exam so I am seeking for help before I have the courage to get one! Maybe therapy can also help you!

    Good luck

    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up