No one looks forward to a Pap smear.

But are yours just an inconvenience, or do you face them with unbearable dread? Painful Pap smears are not normal. Mildly uncomfortable, maybe, but not painful! When your Pap smear makes your teeth clench and your eyes well up, you need to do something about it.

Is your doctor aware that Pap smears are painful for you?

Make it very clear. Ask if there is anything they can do to make this less painful.  If it wasn’t painful before and is now, something has changed. But equally, if you have never had a Pap Smear that didn’t bring tears to your eyes, let them know! A good doctor will be understanding and look for both the cause and the solution.

In the short term using a smaller speculum may help. Ask in advance if a paediatric speculum can be used. If they don’t have one, you may wish to be referred to a gynaecologist instead. Most gynaecologists can use a paediatric speculum to make it less uncomfortable.

Of utmost importance is finding and treating the cause of your painful Pap smears.

There is no reason to put up with painful Pap smears! After a medical check has been done and medical causes ruled out, the most likely cause is a condition called vaginismus. There is no standard medical treatment for vaginismus. Many doctors are either unaware that it exists, or assume that it is a psychological problem. You may also have pain with sex or difficulty using tampons. Ask to be referred to Equilibria, where this is one of the main conditions treated. Alternatively, just ring us and book an appointment – we do not require a medical referral.



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The A to Z of Your Pelvis

Learn all there is to know about pelvic symptoms and conditions