Hi I know that a lot if not all of you are going to think I am stupid but this is my story please don't leave negative feedback as it is not helpful. I am 30 years old and about to turn 31 next month I first got invited for a smear test when I turned 18 which I failed to attend as I have every appointment since. I suffer from severe social anxiety which includes seeing my gp, I do not like to be touched so I stay away from intimate situations including examinations. The only person I trust is my husband of 10 years, I sometimes get brown discharge, random bleeding, abdominal discomfort which is sometimes so painful I find myself doubled over crying. I have polycystic ovary syndrome which accounts for most of my pain and discomfort. I like many other woman who decline smear testing could be saved by a home testing kit and would even be willing to pay for it as I am worried about my health but my anxiety takes over preventing me from attending these appointments. So in conclusion I would like to know if home testing kits exist and if so where can I get one? If not I think it would be a good idea for someone to come up with them and make them readily available for everyone regardless of age. This simple home testing kit could save countless lives. Thank you for reading this and I hope someone out there has some useful advise for me and others in my situation xx.
I think I read on the cancer research website that a trial was done on home testing kits and only 1 in 10 women actually submitted results. Given the low success rate of the trial I don't think anything further was done.
They also did a urine test for Hpv but not sure this would help you as you have symptoms.
I can sympathise with you even having had kids and normally being quite a confident person I got quite nervous and anxious about smears so goodness only knows how it feels to you.
I found that going to a specialist sexual health clinic helped as I could say in my head that they see much worse and also the person who did my smear gave me loads of reassurance, time, explained everything etc.
I think you might want to ring Jos helpline to see if there are other options available for your severe anxiety. I think hospitals will occasionally do smear tests and with your symptoms you really do need to have one.
The staff in the gynae clinics are incredibly kind I had treatment today and the nurse was with me all the time making sure I was comfortable and not in pain.. you can take someone in with you to your appointment for reassurance.
Please don't feel you are being silly I think that more needs to be done to help anxious patients and those within ethnic groups where smears are seen as unacceptable.
I hope you find an answer for you as it sounds like you really need to be checked out.
Lots of love
I promise none of us here would ever give you negative feedback. I have to say I didn't know about a trial for a home smear-test kit, it sounds desperately fiddly! I went along for a vault smear on Friday. It's only because of Jo's that I found out such a thing existed. I had assumed that having had a radical hysterectomy and with no cervix remaining, I never had to have a smear test again. My oncologist wanted me to have a proper gynaecological examination and I found the loveliest doctor really close to home. The doctor and I don't have enough common language between us but we managed to agree what was to be done using little drawings. There was already a woman being examined when I arrived and there were two more waiting when I left, so it's not as though he's a stranger to the nether parts of random women. I do know how unsettling it is to have a total stranger shining a lamp in places we can't even see for ourselves but we just have to find a way to deal with that. Anyone choosing gynaecology as a career path must surely be a kindly and gentle soul who wants the best for our health.
Sam's idea of phoning Jo's is a great one!