There’s nothing to fear from a pap smear

julie_thumbnailAs a nurse practitioner, my days are filled with women: meeting with them, talking to them, performing exams and offering advice. Although these women spend all day, every day with their bodies, oftentimes they still feel that changes in their bodies and the hows and whys of many clinical screenings are a complete mystery. Let’s face it—we don’t exactly come with a handbook.

I recently got a question from a woman who was pretty afraid of the idea of a pap smear screening. I can understand that. If you’ve never had one and only heard of the process from others, then it would be easy to let your imagination run away with you. Her biggest concern was the speculum, and I wanted to share my response to her with you in case you—or someone you know—might be worried, too.

Dear G:

Thank you so much for contacting me. Hey, I understand you are scared about a pap. Have you ever had one? If not, I assure you this can be done very gently.

We have to use a speculum to be able to see your cervix. (Anatomy Lesson: This is the end of the cervix and the area that we see when we look in the vagina.)

 This is where the cells are collected for the pap smear. I find that if I go slowly when I examine women that they do just fine. In addition to that, there are different size speculums I can use and that can make a big difference in comfort.

Sometimes women want to come in and talk first and I am able to help put them at ease. If you would like to schedule time to talk, you can reach my nurse Michelle at 317-415-9021.

Take care,


Do you have any women’s health related questions or concerns? If so, let me help you out. All you need to do is complete and submit this form and I’ll be in touch. Or you can always call 317-338-4Her to talk to a nurse anytime.


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