Pap smears help to prevent cervical cancer – the most common form of cancer for women under 35. This makes pap smears a preventative test that every woman should get. But unfortunately, many women avoid this life-saving test. And a recent survey in the UK found that the reason behind this is embarrassment. 

Many women simply are unaware that they are at risk for cervical cancer, and this makes the idea of a pap smear seem unnecessary. Combine that with their embarrassment surrounding the procedure, and many women just avoid them altogether.

But what exactly are women embarrassed about? This survey, which was conducted by the British charity, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, included over 2,000 women and found that a variety of factors keep women from getting a pap smear.

For 35% of women, they were embarrassed about their body shape. For another 38%, it was the smell of the pubic area. For 34%, exposing genitals and fearing judgment and criticism from the medical staff. Other women even worried about what underwear they should wear to the appointment, and still other ladies said they wouldn’t have the procedure done unless they waxed or shaved the bikini area.

But pap smears can be a life-saving test and help identify early warning signs of more serious health conditions, and women are encouraged to come to their appointments even if they feel embarrassed.

Many health care professionals have done these procedures countless times, and they’re able to administer pap smears and ensure that you’re comfortable, too.

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