When to book cervical screening
Try to book your appointment as soon as you get invited. If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter.
It's best to book an appointment when:
- you're not on your period – also try to avoid the 2 days before or after you bleed (if you do not have periods, you can book any time)
- you have finished treatment if you have unusual vaginal discharge or a pelvic infection
Read more about cervical screening during pregnancy if:
- you're pregnant now
- you have recently given birth
- you're planning a pregnancy
- you have recently had a miscarriage or abortion
Avoid using any vaginal medications, lubricants or creams in the 2 days before you have your test as they can affect the results.
Things to ask when you book
It's OK to let the GP surgery know if you have any worries about going for cervical screening.
- let them know if you'd like a woman to do the test – most nurses and doctors who take cervical screening samples are female
- let them know if you'd like someone else to be in the room with you (a chaperone) – this could be someone you know, another nurse or a trained member of staff
- ask for a longer appointment if you think you might need more time – some GPs can offer a double booking
- let them know if you're finding the test more difficult after going through the menopause – they can prescribe a vaginal oestrogen cream or pessary before the test
- ask for a smaller speculum (a smooth, tube-shaped tool that's put into your vagina so they can see your cervix)
- try not to be embarrassed about talking to the nurse or doctor on the day – they're trained to make you feel more comfortable and provide support