cervical cancer

on Jun 03, 2009 @ 05:19 am

I am 21 years old, never been for a pap smear (conservative family) and lost my virginity when i was 16 (yikes)- to a guy i was dating; was both our first time: apparently.

I have been reading about cervial cancer and the two main things that strike me about the causes and symptoms are 'sex at a young age' and 'vaginal discharg'.
vaginal discharge is normal, but how much would they be speaking of here?

Also, a symptom is irregular bleeding. Before i went on the pill i got my period twice a month. I then went on the pill and it hs helped - would that mean its not related to cervial cancer ?

They say its more common among women over the age of 40,so should i be worried?

My biggest concern is my lack of pap smears due to a very conservative family-its really annoying.

Can someone please help me with some solid information? I have only had 1 previous sexual partner (who broke my virginity) and my current boyfriend who has never not used a condom (thats what he says) but its believable; he only slept with two people.

Thanks guys

8 Replies

hmm... on Jun 03, 2009 @ 04:42 pm

If I were you I would have protected sex because although you may be lucky enough to not get pregnant, you are not protected against STIs including HPV which can lead to cervical cancer. I had a friend who did not get any paps done until recently as well because of an ultra concervative family... the thing is this, if you are sexually active at all, you should get your pap done yearly. You are an adult so you should be able to find a family doctor who can give you a pap without your parents catching wind of it. Go in and get tested. When it comes to your health, early detection of anything concerning is the best bet.

I agree... on Jun 03, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

...with mizzrobin. If you are having sex without your ultra conservative family knowing, then this is another thing that you have to do and not tell them about. I go a women's health clinic, and they tend to have female doctors, and you can request a female doctor - many women do. My mother drummed into me at an early age to get myself checked every year, because it is the one type of cancer that can be easily treated if caught. She also told me it is the stupidest thing to die of, because with yearly paps it can be caught and treated.

Discharge varies from woman to woman, having more than others is not really a sign that anything is wrong. The pill makes your periods more regular, so it makes sense for the bleeding to be less, but getting it twice in a month is not uncommon. How did you get the pill without getting all this checked out?

I had my first pap done within 2 months of having sex for the first time, and always make a point of having it done once a year. Call your family doctor and book an appointment, and they will discuss all this with you, they will have better answers more relvant to what you are experiencing.

privacy laws on Jun 04, 2009 @ 06:47 am

Depending on where you live and how old you are, privacy laws almost certainly protect you from people discovering what you're up to. There are also women's clinics (best to check with your local health department) that may even be free (of course, if you're Canadian then you're covered by universal healthcare).

I don't know anything about symptoms of cervical cancer. What you're describing could be anything, from the very normal to the very serious. You really don't have a choice; check it out.

Instead of making a big hoopla about getting a female exam, why don't you book a full physical instead? Everyone needs blood work, breast exams, and a full once-over on a regular basis. The feminine exam is just one small part of it, and any time you go in for a physical the doc will ask if you need a pap done (you don't need a separate visit for this; they do it right then and there).

If your mom wants to accompany you into the exam room, ask for privacy and for her to wait outside. Why, exactly, are they so against you having these kind of tests? The cervical smear is only one part of it. They will palpate for cysts and check for yeast infections, both of which often occur in virgins or celibate women. Make this less about the Pap and more about general health concerns. Don't fool yourself; this is your health, not their comfort level.

Not trying to be insensitive to whatever family dynamic you have. I know some cultural groups can be particularly careful of such things and I respect that. But I think you have options, and if you're already willing to have sex with your BF, then you should be willing to follow through and have exams done. What would happen if you became pregnant? Jeez louise, you wouldn't be able to avoid a myriad of tests then, either for prenatal care or an abortion. This way, a real doc can get you a birth control prescrip and that's one less worry you'll have.

thanks ladies on Jun 04, 2009 @ 04:58 pm

but now...one more question, is it really painful or just really uncomfortable?

Not painful on Jun 04, 2009 @ 05:38 pm

Just really uncomfortable. No one enjoys having it done. I actually find men are more gentle, so never request a female doctor. Just have your period in mind when you make the appointment, as you don't want to go during, and give yourself a few days after, so there is no bleeding.

All the best!

Uncomfy on Jun 05, 2009 @ 03:22 am

I personally don't find it painful, just a bit uncomfortable. I have always had a female doctor and never had a problem with her.

Not painful at all on Jun 05, 2009 @ 05:46 am

just... strange. They take basically a long Q-tip and gently swipe it against the cervix and surrounding v-wall. No one loves to get a Pap, but it's not painful, arousing or otherwise traumatizing. The doc will first examine you with a gloved finger (using a lubricant, so it doesn't hurt), then insert what looks like a huge chrome piece (also lubed) to crank things open, then quickly swab and done. The whole procedure takes about a minute including the finger exam. He/she will also palpate your ovaries from outside and possibly do a breast exam too.

Some women find all of this embarrassing, and I can understand that. However, your health is too important to not have yourself checked regularly, wouldn't you agree?

I agree that a male doc can often be just a little more careful (though I've had my share of female doctors, esp during my pregnancies), and they will always have a nurse come in with him for your protection (ie. so there would be no possibility of him assaulting you.

Hope this helps!

discharge question on Jun 05, 2009 @ 05:52 am

Discharge varies depending on the time of the month; in fact, some women who rely on the rhythm method or are trying to get pregnant use their discharge as an indicator.

Heaviest is mid month when you're most fertile; lightest is just before and just after your period. In each case, there should not be more than a faint smell; anything stronger or ammonia-like is a good indication of a yeast infection - with or without the itchiness that some women experience. The amount, consistency, and overall appearance will change during a yeast infection as well. It's important, though, not to self diagnose the first few times. If you are prone to them, you'll figure out the symptoms soon enough and a doc visit will not be necessary each time.

As someone already mentioned, discharge amount and appearance will vary from woman to woman. Only your doc can say if it falls in the "normal" range.

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