Search icon


02nd Feb 2023

I got my first ever smear test – and it wasn’t as scary as people make it out to be

Ellen Fitzpatrick

There’s nothing to fear.

I recently turned 25 and to most women my age that means one thing – we are now eligible for our routine (and free) smear test.

After finally building up the courage to actually book mine once I had gotten my letter from Cervical Check – and the reminder letter – I was on my way.

Like many of us, I had always heard the worst regarding smear tests. They’re painful, it feels like extreme pressure, you bleed, it’s worse than a bad period pain… The list goes on.

From my experience, none of these were the case. The feeling of it was unusual for sure, but painful or uncomfortable? Not at all.

My aim with this piece is to put people’s minds at ease. I went into the doctor’s clinic for this exam utterly petrified and came out with an overwhelming sense of relief.

I understand that everyone’s experience with smear tests is different. Some people unfortunately have awful stories from them. But those are the stories you only ever hear, never the good ones.

I have gotten laser hair removal multiple times before so I wasn’t uncomfortable undressing there. And if I’m being completely honest, laser hair removal was more painful than my smear test.

Starting off, it was certainly colder than expected and that made me flinch. I was worried after flinching at just that. During the exam itself, I felt nothing more than a slight tug and the tiniest sting. And then it was over.

I was in the clinic waiting room longer than I was getting my smear – heck, I was signing paperwork for longer than the smear.

While I am yet to get my results, the nurse who did the exam assured me everything looked normal. I also got the HPV vaccine when I was in secondary school, and the long-term results of that are extremely positive.

Looking back on the overall experience, it was nowhere near as bad as I expected. I thought I was going to have to call someone to collect me due to the agony I’d be in. I practically skipped home.

And if you’ve heard it more uncomfortable than it is sore, let me be the first to tell you that the most uncomfortable part was when the nurse remembered me from the last time I had been there for a completely different reason. That was the least fun part of it all, and that says enough.

The moral is to book your smear test. It is so important you do and once you get the first out of the way, booking the next won’t be so daunting. They truly are not as bad as some people make them out to be.

Related links: