My first smear test

The most awkward part really is the getting undressed bit. Both my kids are summer babies so all my late pregnancy speculum exams have been easy, I was wearing a dress! This time I had to try not to get tangled in my own skinny jeans. The rest is all pretty straightforward.

Way back in March I got a letter inviting me for my first smear test because I was about to turn 25. I was pregnant at the time so had to find out if you can have a smear test during pregnancy. Turns out you can, but it’s best not to.

After going overdue and then waiting the recommended 6 weeks post partum it was late October before I booked my test and I was nervous. Not for the usual reasons, I’ve recently given birth with various medical professionals all up in my business. They have seen it all and I have had speculum exams and cervical sweeps galore. No, I was nervous because of my scarring.

TMI WARNING: When I gave birth the first time I had an episiotomy, it was stitched too far and left me with excess skin. When I gave birth the second time I ripped it. With a second degree tear. I was stitched up well, no extra stitches this time, no extra bit of skin. But now I have a mass of scar tissue that is tight and painful.

So I arrived at my appointment and explained this all to the nurse and she was lovely about it. She told me a similar thing happened to her and that she would naturally be gentle and swift and use plenty of lube.

The most awkward part really is the getting undressed bit. Both my kids are summer babies so all my late pregnancy speculum exams have been easy, I was wearing a dress! This time I had to try not to get tangled in my own skinny jeans. The rest is all pretty straightforward.

The nurse was quick and efficient, I let her know that it was painful around my scar tissue and she told me should could see it and understood why it was painful, she took the swab which wasn’t comfortable but it wasn’t painful either… and it was over in no time at all. The only real pain was because of an issue with my own body and not what the nurse was doing.

Incidentally, the nurse told me that it was likely that I would require reconstructive surgery if my scarring hadn’t softened after 6 months, so if you like a good TMI post then watch this space, I’ll tell you all about it!

The results for my test came back normal for anyone wondering. I am so thankful that I was able to have such an important test and relieved to have good results.

If you enjoyed this you might like…

Spotting the early signs of lung cancer
How to be a sex positive parent
Have you checked you lemons, melons and mangoes?

Can you have a smear test during pregnancy?

A few weeks ago, after talking to a friend about her smear test I started to wonder, should I still be having this done even though I’m now very pregnant?

Tweet to @mummykindoff

In short, yes. But read on to find out why and when…

I am approaching my 25th birthday, so naturally I got my first smear test letter a few months back. I was filled with the usual apprehension that I hear so much about but a stronger determination to get it done and shout it from the roof tops. A couple of days after my letter arrived I got a positive pregnancy test and that put pay to that. I just figured I’d have to be 6 months postpartum with everything back to “normal” to have one so I’d try again next year and keep nagging all of my almost 25 year old friends to get theirs booked.

A few weeks ago, after talking to a friend about her smear test I started to wonder, should I still be having this done even though I’m now very pregnant? I read that it is unsafe in the first and third trimesters but apparently safe in the second trimester, which I am right in the middle of. So should just go ahead and book it?

I spoke to my consultant about it last week and the good news is that pregnant women who need a smear can have one, but it will likely show some kind of abnormality and they will need another soon after birth. I was told that unless I had a specific concern or a history of abnormalities in smear tests I should avoid having one until 6 weeks after the birth of my baby. At that point I will have been 25 for 5 months, so not as bad as I thought.

So the takeaway from this? If you are worried about something, talk to your doctor and if you have had abnormalities in previous smear tests then get yourself booked in during your second trimester. If everything is fine, go get yourself booked in when you have your 6 week postpartum check up.

If you enjoyed this, take a look at these…

Taking control of my second pregnancy
Antenatal Depression


Spotting the early signs of lung cancer

Share

Thank you very much to Chrissy, working with http://www.seniorsandhealth.com, for this guest blog post on how to spot lung cancer early! A difficult subject that nobody really wants to consider, so we hope these tips will help someone who is feeling a bit unsure about what is going on! 

Early Signs of Lung Cancer That Parents Should Never Ignore

We all know that when you’re a parent, you need to stay healthy. You need all the energy you can get, and you certainly don’t want to become ill – who’s going to look after the kids then? One of the best ways to maintain your health is to listen to your own body. This can help you to spot the early warning signs of a whole range of illnesses, including lung cancer. And the sooner you notice that something is amiss, the sooner you can get yourself checked out and, if it turns out to be necessary, begin treatment and start fighting back.

A model of the human body reflected in a window

The symptoms that will be experienced by someone with lung cancer can vary a great deal, and unfortunately, some people don’t notice any symptoms for quite some time, giving the cancer a chance to get out of control. This means that it’s doubly important to keep a close eye on any changes to your lung health. That way, you will notice if anything is amiss.

What are the early warning signs?

Here’s a guide to the warning signs of lung cancer that you need to be looking out for and that you should never ignore. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can. In most cases, the doctor will be able to reassure you that nothing serious is wrong, but in those cases where cancer does turn out to be present, it is much easier to treat, and there is a much higher rate of recovery, if it is caught early. Cancers that are left continue to grow, and spread throughout the body, so don’t delay making that appointment.

  • Do you have a cough that you can’t seem to shake, or which sounds or feels different than coughs you’ve had before?
  • Are you getting more chest infections than you usually do?
  • Are you short of breath, or becoming wheezy, when you are doing things that you used to be able to do without any trouble?
  • Are you coughing up blood? If you do, don’t panic. There are several things that could cause this, but you do need to get checked out by a doctor.
  • Have you lost your appetite for no reason?
  • Have you lost weight for no reason, without dieting or doing more exercise
  • Are you feeling unusually tired or lacking in energy?
  • Do you have an ache or pain in or around your shoulder?
  • Are you having difficulty swallowing?

For many parents, the thought of not being around to see their kids grow up is the best incentive there is to stay fit and healthy. So, while many of these symptoms could be harmless and related to a common bug, it is always best to seek medical attention and get the necessary check-ups to diagnose if anything more serious is present.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Have you checked your lemons, melons or mangos? 

How many of us ladies can honestly say that we check ourselves out frequently? When did you last check? I know that we’re not quite as bad as the boys at checking ourselves… But I am very aware that I personally only ever used get round to doing it when I get reminded by online campaigns

CHECK. YOUR BOOBS png

As it is breast cancer awareness week, I thought i’d share my scare experience with our readers in the hope that it might encourage some of you to get checked out, if you’re having any breast related worries!

A few months ago, I finally made the big step in getting myself checked out after having a boobie scare. Why am I telling you lucky lot about it?! Because changes to our breasts honestly need to be spoken about more!

How many of us ladies can honestly say that we check ourselves out frequently? When did you last check? I know that we’re not quite as bad as the boys at checking ourselves… But I am very aware that I personally only ever used get round to doing it when I get reminded by online campaigns etc.

I saw the image above, on Facebook and decided that it was time to confront one of the changes I had noticed since having Florence nearly a year and a half ago. I knew that changes in your breasts and breast tissue was very common after large hormonal changes, like having a baby, but worried because I had a mark that looked like a cross between what these two lemons depicted…

Lovely I know,  but I have no time to blush when I’m here to inform! 

 

I called up my local doctors practice and asked for an appointment to discuss a concern I had with one of my breasts. I was told that as no female doctors were in and that there wasn’t a chaperone available, that I’d have to wait for the duty doctor to call me the following day and book me in, to see a lady. I said that as I was so concerned, I didn’t mind who I discussed my worries with but that I’d prefer to be checked over by a female when I came to practice.

Sure enough, the duty doctor called me the very next morning. I explained my worries over the phone and put me down for an appointment to see a lady doctor for less than an hour later. So off I went!

She asked me what my concerns where and tried to make me feel comfortable before instructing me to remove my upper layers and lye down on the examination table to be checked over. She checked my nipples, breast, armpits and even commented on how my glands felt perfectly normal.

The changes that I had been so worried about, was slight scar tissue, all caused by to me trying to breast feed and pump for almost two months with no supply. She told me that this was nothing to worry about but well worth getting checked out.

I am so relived that my scare was down to nothing more sinister and felt pleased that I had finally been brave enough to seek some help and advice for my worries.

The doctor explained how I could check myself and said that either in the shower, bath, lying or sitting down in bed whilst relaxed would be the perfect time to check myself and to try and do it as frequently as possible (but to aim for once a week!).

How do you check yourself? 

Strictly speaking, there is no right or wrong way to check your breasts. It is so important to know what your breasts usually look and feel like. Then you’ll be more likely to spot any changes quickly and get help from to your GP.

The NHS state that a good way check yourself is to “Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, all the way up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.
You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.”

So- when should we seek help or advice from a GP? If you experience any of the following symptoms make sure you book to see your GP as soon as possible…

  • a change in size or shape
  • a lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
  • a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
  • redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
  • your nipple has become inverted (pulled in) or looks different in any way.
  • liquid or any discharge that comes from the nipple without squeezing.
  • pains or pangs in your breast or your armpit
  • a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.

Any of these changes could be down to normal bodily hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy, labour, breast feeding or menopause- but please, if anything is new or is worrying you, GET CHECKED OUT…

Useful links-

NHS information about Breast Cancer.
Breast Cancer Care Org

Thank you for reading!
(Please remember that you can never be too safe!)