Is no news good news after smear test?

If you’re a woman and have gone through the process of getting a smear test, then congratulations – this is a step forward in taking care of your health! But what happens after the test? Do we just forget about it since no news is good news? Let’s dive into this topic with some humor.

What is A Smear Test And Why Do We Need It?

A smear test, also known as Pap test or cervical screening, screens for abnormal cells on the cervix. This can detect early stages of cancer before it gets worse. According to the NHS website (a reputable source unlike Wikipedia), women aged 25-49 should get tested every three years; while women aged 50-64 should be tested every five years.

Let’s face it – no one would want to receive bad news from a doctor, but trust me: detecting anything early saves lives.

The Screening Process

So what exactly happens during our screening appointment? Here are some key steps:

  • When you arrive at your GP surgery/clinic, they will give you an information leaflet about smear tests.
  • You lie on an examination table while your doctor/nurse has full access down there.
  • They insert a speculum (an instrument that opens up vagina walls) so that they can see inside better.
  • Your healthcare provider then collects samples from around and inside the cervix area by using a small brush/spatula which may feel slightly uncomfortable
  • The sample goes off to be analysed for any changes in cell appearance

Some people might think this sounds daunting and embarrassing but honestly it’s fine. Just breathe through it.

When Will I Get My Results?

Just like with many other medical procedures/tests (except when you check if you’re pregnant), once all sites analyzed and if everything was normal…you’ll hear nothing back! So when do we not assume no news good news?

What If I Never Hear Back From My GP Surgery/Clinic?

It’s important to double check back with your GP surgery or clinic if you haven’t received any results within a month. Although (side bar: cue dramatic voice over) it is extremely rare that results are lost in the mail, ‘computer glitches’ have also been known to happen which can change one’s result letters from ‘being sent’ pile to ‘bin’.

Don’t ignore this step because lives could be at stake! Let’s say it louder for the people at the back – lives ARE at stake.

The Results

Okay, so let’s play out different scenarios concerning what our test outcomes would look like.

Scenario 1: All Clear!

You will receive clear and positive test results via post (or text), they may only come in a letter saying how well the cervix cells did on their recent exam.

Congratulations! No further action required.

  • The NHS website states 97% of women having tests come back as normal
  • You’ve done your bit towards maintaining good health.

Scenario 2: Abnormal Cells Detected

There could be instances where doctors/nurses find abnormal cells:

  • These are called low-grade abnormalities

    • Your body heals these naturally without medical intervention.
    • As per NHS guidelines, you’ll likely just get booked again for a routine smear after twelve months rather than there being anything serious wrong.
  • In some rarer cases where high grade changes occur…

    • Where almost every cell has changed abnormally = CIN(II/III)
      • This puts us onto something more serious – possibly developing into cervical cancer
        ~this typically needs treatment ASAP~

Focus on scenario two might have shifted things down here…

If necessary, possible further examinations include:

  • Colposcopy – check on the cervix via microscope and with the use of dyes to clarify abnormal cells.

    • This is similar to a smear but visual work-through-wise, it’s magnified like x1000. So whereas you may have found the initial section awkward, anyone who has gone through colposcoy will feel quite at ease when they return for a follow-up meet.
  • Biopsy – surgically removing tiny bits from cervix-surface for more specific testing

    • That means sticking things in places we don’t want or ever imagined them being stuck.

The above mentioned come off as panic-inducing words, that’s normal! But taking care of yourself is immensely necessary especially if your doctor says spotting any abnormalities early can be rectified without too much craziness going forward.

Abnormal Results…So What Now?

After either scenario two pathways emerging around procedures meaning there’d never really be no news good news; keep an eye out for cervical cancer symptoms since after having received an ‘abnormal results’ notification one tends to be hyper-aware.

Types include:

1) Abdominal swelling/pain
2) Vaginal bleeding outside periods, sex sessions etc.
3) Discharge experience from down below… yep…

These kinds could also point towards other changes but man oh man remembering how long took getting past one appointment just because our bodies are mysterious ‘down there’, so it’s always best asking medical advisors.

Bottom line

To sum up today’s conversation: Do not assume anything with regards future correspondence regarding screening results until you receive confirmation confirming all parts looked relatively okay during time GP/nurse were conducting tests – however still incredibly understandable why holders’ nerves may run wilder than thought possible every time that mailbox creaks open…

Regular cervical screenings are essential component towards ensuring optimal health which helps decrease risks later down the line. A while ago, cancer had a certain stigma and squeamishness associated with it -these days, we approach it as another (albeit serious) disease that can be managed if caught early enough.

Let’s not wait until its late to do something about it!

Also remember: when in doubt or feeling worried, talking to GP/nurse is best route forward. They have medical expertise on this ~whispers~ ‘and they’ve seen everything before’

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