I've had failed smear tests at my GP as I am too dry, its too painful and the nurse says she can't do it. 

I saw Gynaecheck where you take a smear of your vagina and they test for HPV cells.

Is this worth doing? Is it reliable? Does anyone know?



Hi Gem

It might be worth asking your GP if there's anything more they can do to help you through your smear test.  Maybe you need a referral to a gynaecologist or a women's health physiotherapist (wish I'd known about the latter 10 years ago!). If you are menopausal (or not) there are some useful tips on the following link to help you through a smear test:

I've never used an HPV self testing kit such as Gynaecheck, but there are trials going on to investigate if such tests can be introduced as part of the NHS screening programme:

So, in principle, it sounds like it could be a sound way forward for cervical screening.  If it was me I would ring up the company providing the kit and maybe ask a few questions e.g.  I would want to know how they support women who get a positive test result. I would also want to know which strains of HPV are covered by the kit: there are 14 strains of HPV that can cause cervical cancer:

I would want to, at least, be sure that the kit tested for all the strains of HPV covered by the NHS cervical screening test. I would also want to know that the company uses a properly accredited laboratory to process the sample. 

Hope this helps?





I think that the test is a bit more detailed than the NHS one - they tell you if you have strains 16 or 18 or one of the other high risk strains whereas the NHS one lumps all high risk strains together. The collection method is still being assessed in trials to see if it is as reliable as a cervical screening but other countries do it as part of their national screening program so it has been well tested elsewhere. 

The thing to question is, as Jazza says, what you will do if you are found to have HPV. Would you then have a smear test?

I have also heard of women using the test outside of their NHS schedule, taking their results to their GP and not having them accepted because it wasn't an NHS test. They are then faced with waiting and worrying until they are due an NHS screening.