Women are choosing to risk their health rather than feel uncomfortable for two minutes in the nurses chair.
New research released this week from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has shown that so many young women are choosing to skip their cervical smear because they’re embarrassed by their own vagina’s.
Over 2,000 took part in the survey and the results reflected just how serious an affect the porn industry has had on women’s self esteem: designer vagina’s are now normality – or so women seem to believe.
34% admitted they missed their smear tests because of the appearance of their vulva.
31% of participants explained they wouldn’t attend the intimate appointment if they didn’t feel ‘respectable’ – aka, if they didn’t have a clean bikini line.
The most common reason however was concerns about the way their vagina’s smelt, with a massive 38% skipping because of odour.
Smears save lives. A two minute medical examination can save a lifetime.
In the UK, smear tests are available to all women from the age of 25 – women are expected to have the screening every three years.
However, middle-aged women do not share these same fears, Andrea Heaton, 54, was shocked to hear these statistics.
“Nobody looks forward to going to a smear, that doesn’t matter whatever age you are. But, as you get older you do become more aware of how important it is to be responsible for your own health.
“Unfortunately, you also know people who have suffered from Cancer and even if they make a full recovery their journey back to health is not easy.
“So, everyone has to responsible for their own health, what’s two minutes of discomfort and embarrassment in the grand scheme of things?”
She also feels that the new age of ‘designer vagina’s’ is a generational phenomenon, not something that her or her peers would be concerned about.
“Just wait until you have a baby! All feelings of a self-conscious nature go out the window! There’s never anything to be ashamed or embarrassed of, nurses especially have seen it all!”
Detecting cervical cancer early is vital to treatment and the cancer predominantly affects women aged between 25 and 29, a fact that is a surprise to most people. Though the screenings are optional officials have warned that women should be urged to attend more actively.
The charity said cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35, yet almost two-thirds of those surveyed weren’t aware they’re most at risk.
A total of 220,000 British women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities each year.
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust last year told Cosmopolitan UK: “The cervical screening programme saves 5,000 lives every year in the UK and provides the best protection against cervical cancer.
“The test protects against 75% of cervical cancers so I would encourage all women to attend when invited to reduce their risk of this potentially life-threatening disease.”
Findings show that ages 25-29, those most likely to be diagnosed, are most likely to skip their smear tests – 1 in 3 (from this age group) do not attend. Women not in this age bracket are also likely to skip the appointment, 1 in 4 fail to attend. Elephant’s Voice took the Smear-Ya-Later debate to the streets to find out why both young and old are scared of smears.
The official survey found that three main factors can be attributed to why young women are embarrassed to attend smear tests: body shape (35%), the appearance of their vulva (34%) and concerns over smell (38%).
A whopping third of women said they wouldn’t go if they hadn’t waxed or shaved their bikini area.
Robert Music, of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Please don’t let unhappiness or uncertainty about your body stop you from attending what could be a life-saving test.
“Nurses are professionals who carry out millions of tests every year, they can play a big part in ensuring women are comfortable.”
The statistics indicate two main issues: women DO NOT realise the importance of smear tests and women must address their self-confidence issues rather than risk your health.
Women in their mid-to-late twenties are the most likely to skip the appointment and the most probable reason is that the younger generation are not happy with their bodies. More so than that of any other generation.
The millennial generation are SO uncomfortable with their genitalia that they would rather risk their health than show a medical professional their genitalia – nurses who see quite literally dozens every day.
Logically women should be more comfortable than ever with the internet at every bodies fingertips, with just a click anyone can Google to check what’s ‘normal’.
However, this has in fact had the adverse effect with many seeing designer vagina’s at the click of the button. Picture ‘perfect’ images and videos of surgically perfected vagina’s after labiaplasty. That’s right, porn. And a lot of it.
Labiaplasty, whereby a women surgically has her labia-minor reduced (most to have a designer vagina), a surgery which is increasing 45% year-upon-year internationally. The epidemic has been described as the ‘the worlds fastest growing cosmetic procedure’.
Women are so accustomed to seeing airbrushed images in magazines that many feel the urge to go on crash diets, die their hair, apply skin cream before bed and aim for the perfection that’s plastered on our screens. Sadly this has passed from our bodies and faces to our most private parts. Generally the only thing to worry about when it comes to vagina’s is if you’re in physical pain or discomfort.
The professionals in clinics are there for abnormalities and worries, most of which are perfectly normal.
Here is a poll that Elephant’s Voice ran on the topic, giving readers a chance to join this weeks debate:
**VAGINA POLL THREAD! **🌼🌻🌸
Let’s talk #vaginas! Join the debate ladies, poll results will feature in Wednesday’s debate!
— Elephant in the Room (@elephants_voice) 22 January 2018So, what happens during a smear test?
- You’ll receive the letter in the post calling for your ‘cervical screening’.
- On the day you’ll head over to the doctors/sexual health clinic, more than likely you may feel nervous – it can be nerve-racking to show your privates to a stranger but try to remember the stranger is a health professional. They have literally seen it all.
- The nurse will have a small chat with you just asking some questions such as when your last period was and recent sexual acitivity etc – most suggest getting your screening done mid cycle.
- You’ll then be directed behind the curtain to remove your pants and cover yourself with some paper that is laid on the medical bed.
- The nurse will then direct you into position: feet in the stirrups, legs relaxed and breathing easy. You WILL feel exposed and the nurse will use a light to get a good look – don’t be alarmed, remember they do this everyday.
- The nurse will then use a couple of instruments to help take a sample portion of cells from your cervix, most people find it best not to look (who would want to?) or think about this, a speculum and plastic brush is used to open your cervix and then brush some cells for a sample.