Could there be an easy alternative to the dreaded smear test?

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.