Smear Test

Find support and treatment options from participants and Maze Women’s Health staff.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #20488

    I’m new. So glad to finally have somewhere to talk about what I’ve got.

    I’ve had it my entire life and it’s affected me so much. I sometimes feel so alone.

    I had my first smear test recently, thinking it would be ok because it’s not sex and it’s a DR/nurse. The experiences was so horrific. The nurse was angry, kept shoving and telling me off. It got done but I barely remember it as was so awful. I was shaking for hours, left in tears and in severe pain.

    Anyone else had this experience? I never want to have it again, even though it’s so important for detecting cancer. It reminded me that having this condition gives me problems outside the bedroom.


    Hi Daisey. Welcome to the Forum. I’m so glad you found it and please, please know we are here for you 100%. I had vaginismus for so, so long and also felt very alone with the condition. With this Forum, you don’t have to feel like this and have our support. I’m so, so sorry for what you went through with your smear test. I had an absolutely terrible experience with my first one as well. I had extreme anxiety and thought that if I just relaxed (like she kept telling me to do) and just willed it to happen then it would work even though insertion with my then boyfriend (now husband) had been entirely impossible. It did not work and she ended up getting very frustrated and told me I had to see a sex therapist before returning to try it again and she diagnosed me with vulvodynia. I left feeling horrible and never saw her again. To make such a long story abbreviated (as much as possible), I returned to searching on-line for treatments, found Dr. Pacik in NH, received the Botox treatment program for vaginismus (not vulvodynia as I did not have this) and was then able to insert the dilators, make love and have the exam. I absolutely hate and despise doctors who don’t get it and treat you like this one did and like my first one did. I am so, so sorry you had to go through this. Please, again, know that I am here for you 100% and am so very glad you found this Forum. You are not alone with this at all.


    Hello Daisey. I’m so sorry you had such a rough first gyn visit. All patients deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion, and I hope that this experience doesn’t keep you from getting the treatment you need for your vaginismus. Did your Dr. offer you any treatment options? I hope you will contact us at Maze Women’s Health if you have any questions!


    Thank you for your messages.

    No she was very annoyed and just told me that I needed to relax more next time. She was a nurse and looking back, a very poor one.

    Are you able to have these examinations pain free now?

    I’m glad I can finally start looking for support and helping myself now.


    You can’t relax an involuntary muscle spasm. I’m sorry that she didn’t understand what you were going through.

    I can’t speak for Heather, but after I finish treating patients for vaginismus, I do a very gentle speculum exam with patients to show them that they can indeed have a painless exam, and it helps to relieve some of their anxieties when they go back to their ob/gyns for a pap smear.


    Hi Daisey. She does sound like a very poor nurse. I can have the exams pain-free now but definitely could not before. I actually had the largest dilator inserted for a while prior to my first appointment and asked the doctor to remove it and then insert the speculum. I had spoken to her office and also had Dr. P talk to her in advance so she understood about vaginismus. She was very nice and was able to do this for my first one after the Botox procedure. After my first one, I still continued to dilate prior to the other ones but did not have the doc remove it anymore. I then got pregnant and ended up having a low-lying placenta so I could not dilate prior to the exams and tests. It still worked fine and I was able to have the exams pain-free. I have returned for a few exams post-pregnancy and still like to dilate before as it makes me feel less nervous about it and I haven’t had any recurring pain with them. I’m here for you 100% and send you my support.


    I have definitely had experiences like these!!! When I was 18, I had a nurse tell me once that I was just a “control freak” and needed to relax, among other extremely inappropriate things. The experience scarred me for a long time and to this day I have a fear this particular NP will walk in (even though I’m not in the same state anymore!).

    I have had mixed results with pap smears and pelvic exams since having a hymenectomy in 2009. The best results for me have been when I am given a light anti-anxiety medication beforehand (which means I need to be driven to the appointment, unfortunately) and where the nurse/NP/doctor uses the smallest (pediatric) speculum and lets me insert it myself and shows and talks me through each step of the process. It’s so crucial to have a nurse/NP/doctor that you trust and who will be patient with you rather than pressuring you.

    I never thought to use a dilator before/during the procedure, but that sounds like a fantastic idea and one I will definitely keep in mind in the future.


    Hi NewSoul
    Agree that using a dilator before a gynecology exam is very helpful. It does allow you a sense of control and confidence that you will be able to tolerate the exam.
    Having a provider who is enlightened about Vaginismus is so very important too.
    Many providers often try to rush through exams as they have a lot of patients to see during their office hours. My suggestion is to try to find a provider who both understands and is sympathetic to patients with Vaginismus. Someone who takes their time and is understanding will make all the difference in the world.


    @heather34 I hope this doesn’t sound like a really invasive question but how do you keep the dilator in you? I’ve just bought a set today on amazon as I’ve been recently diagnosed and really want to work on overcoming this and equally really feel I should get a smear test done as I’m 31 now and never had one before because I was too scared (and judging by what Newsoul and Daisy went through that fear is justified!!) Dilating beforehand sounds like a really good idea, but I know from having a bullet that if it’s just left to sit there, my body will just push it out.
    Thanks in advance!


    Hi Florence,

    It is very normal for the dilator to be expelled from the vagina when not being held in place.

    If you have a set of short dilators, that can be inserted all the way to the base, you might be able to keep the dilator inside with a tight pair of underwear.

    If you are using longer dilators, then you will probably need to just hold the dilator inside with your hand.

    Some women find after inserting the dilator, they can close their legs and keep the dilator inside.

    I would bring you dilator with you to the gyn exam, and ask if you can have some time alone before the clinician comes into your room. Typically patients are left waiting in the room for the clinician, so you should have time to relax, insert the dilator, and keep it in there for a good five minutes or so. If you feel like you would need more time, you should ask for it.



    Hi Florence. This is not an invasive question at all. Gyn exams were such a terrifying experience for me pre-procedure that always ended in full blown panic, tears, etc… Post-procedure, I was honestly even more nervous for the first exam than for any other thing. I dilated prior to the exam and actually wore the dilator to the exam. For the very first one, the Doctor actually removed the dilator and inserted the speculum in. To leave the dilators in during the day, I sometimes wear a tight-fitting pair of underwear and sometimes even a pad as I use a lot of lubricant. I find that it doesn’t come out as the underwear holds it in place and it’s not messy with the use of the pads. I don’t know why, but dilating in advance of these appointments helped me so much to make something that was always an impossible horrible experience possible and okay. I hope these tips help.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.