If, like us, you’ve been following Zoe Sugg since she started her YouTube channel in 2009 you’ll know her for vlogging about life, beauty, mental health and her pug, Nala. Now, our fave YouTuber is shedding light on an experience women will all go through: smear tests.
A smear test, formally called a cervical screening test, is a check to make sure there are no abnormal cells on your cervix – the area between your vagina and your womb.
The test is most well-known for checking signs of cervical cancer, but it is also used to check the general health of your cervix
It sounds pretty scary and uncomfortable but, as Zoe explains, it isn’t bad at all.
Women between the ages of 25 and 65 will be invited for a smear test every three to five years depending on their age. You might not have ever been for one or know much about it – once you turn 24 you will be invited to book in with your practice nurse to attend a test.
Although the test is the only way to check if a woman is infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), only 73% of eligible women are attending in Scotland.
The idea of undressing in front of someone you don’t know and having a sample taken from your cervix can seem awkward and uncomfortable, but the test is essential.
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IT'S HERE! THE SMEAR! [Open in IGTV] After meeting with @joscervicalcancertrust this year, I wanted to do something to help encourage more women to book and attend their cervical screenings here in the UK as statistics had shown that 1 in 4 women skip the cervical screening, with the proportion increasing to 1 in 3 among those aged 25 to 29 and to 1 in 2 in some more deprived regions of the UK. I decided that something I think I would have found really reassuring before attending my first test, would have been to have watched someone else having their test and to understand a little more about it. Therefore, that's what I decided to do! Loaded with your questions, I took my camera (and Maddie and Lauren who filmed for me – thanks ladies) into my smear with the absolutely lovely Jenny! Although filming this was certainly out of my comfort zone, I really hope it encourages any of you who feel a bit uncertain, or have simply put it off to call your local GP and book your smear tests. Let me know in the comments if you have after watching this, and please also feel free to share your experiences below too for others to read. I will only be posting this part into my feed, but please go to my IGTV profile to view the other 3 episodes as they are SUPER important and hopefully equally as helpful 🙂 I've also uploaded the full video over on my youtube channel (link in bio) if you'd prefer to watch zoomed out and in full! xx
In a bid to break down the stigma around smear tests, our hero Zoe Sugg has made the brave decision to share her smear test experience for a second time.
Your questions, answered
She first shared her smear test experience in 2016 discussing how she felt both before and after the test. Now, she has taken her viewers into the test with her, filming her smear and having their questions answered.
Taking the form of a vlog on YouTube and an IGTV series on Instagram, the videos show lovely nurse Jenny answering real women’s questions about the test and what to expect.
From what equipment will be used to take your sample to how to ease your nerves and what the results mean, the videos are a resource to put your mind at ease before you get called. There might be a few years to wait, but it’s good to be prepared.
It definitely has us breathing a sigh of relief.
Booking your smear
Videos like Zoe’s are a great tool if you are nervous about booking a smear test, or you don’t know much about it.
Since smear tests were first introduced in the 1980s, and cervical cancer cases have decreased by around 7% every year, but this can only continue if the uptake of smear tests increase.
It is normal to worry about the test itself or the results. Around one in 20 women will received an abnormal result for the test, but the majority of these changes won’t lead to cervical cancer.
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🆕 📹 Have you seen @zoesugg's new #SmearTest vlog / IGTV? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We’re so grateful to Zoe for recognising that the test isn’t easy for everyone and doing a fantastic Q&A with Jenny @greenfield805 (Practice Nurse Manager & Jo’s volunteer) to answer common questions and concerns. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🎞 Go to Zoe's Instagram to watch 👉 @zoesugg! #CervicalScreening
If you are concerned about going for a smear test or just want more information Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust can provide information and advice. When you are ready to book your test speak to your GP practice nurse, ask any questions you have and make sure you feel comfortable.
Until then, watch Zoe’s smear test experience to see how her test went, why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to go, and why the test is so important.
Featured image credit: @zoesugg on Instagram