Smear tests are so important for our health and peace of mind, but they’re definitely not something we look forward to. Like getting a filling at the dentist, or booking our next bikini wax, a smear test is something that all women anticipate with a certain sense of dread.
Although rarely painful, a smear test is usually somewhat uncomfortable. The process is a little bizarre too – a speculum (that strange duck-lips thing) is inserted into the vagina and a small cell sample is taken from your cervix using a specialised brush. Ew.
That’s why we were VERY happy to hear the news that a urine test could possibly be a viable alternative to a smear.
Researchers at the London School of Medicine and Dentistry compared the effectiveness of urine samples versus smear tests in detecting the presence of HPV – human papillomavirus, the virus that causes cervical cancer – and found that urine tests could be equally accurate.
More research is needed, but we’re hopeful!
For now though, doctors recommend a smear test every three years for anyone between the ages of 25 and 60. Luckily, smear tests are free for Irish women under the government-funded CervicalCheck programme – just contact your GP or local women’s health clinic for more information.