all Columns Pain Chronicles

Pain Chronicles: I Discovered I had Vaginismus Because of my First Cervical Smear

Pain Chronicles is a monthly(-ish) column from Caroline McDonagh-Darwin about coming to terms with living with a chronic illness. It will include funny stories and brutal honesty, with some thrown-in chats with her mum Shaz, and other friends too, along the way. 

TW: blood, medical insensitivity, medical procedure (cervical smear). Resources are available at the bottom of this column. 

I still have the knickers I wore to my first attempt at a smear test, it’s been 4 years now, and the blood hasn’t ever come out. Despite the guidance saying my risk was low on account of my HPV vaccine and my never having had sex, I still wanted that peace of mind.