This article was first published on the thirteenth of March, two thousand and thirteen and was written by Taylor McIntyre and Sierra Roberts.

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( Image via University of Michigan Women’s Health Program )

Everyone hates tests, and for many women, the majority fear one in particular: the dreaded pap test. According to a recent study in the Huffington Post, one in five women avoid cervical screening.

So we asked ourselves: why are twenty percent of women not willing to spread their legs? The common answer among interviewees was the fear of exposing themselves under the bright fluorescent lights.

We totally understand your concern. So for those of you who are a little nervous to strip off and bare all, here are some tips and stories to ease your mind.

Tip 1:
Shower! Feeling fresh down under will help ease your mind and alleviate some of that embarrassment.

Tip 2:
Realize that the doctor is not their to judge you or your vajayjay. By this point, your doctor has seen it all – the big, the small and the hairy – and trust us, they don’t care.

Tip 3:
When scheduling your appointment, make sure to schedule the test either a week or two before or after your period. We get that it’s natural and all, but nobody likes those surprises.

Now that you’ve got the basic steps to prepare, here’s what to expect when you get to your appointment:

There will be a nurse and a doctor present in the room. Before the doctor arrives, the nurse will allow you time alone to get undressed and into a gown. Once you’re situated, the doctor and nurse will typically reenter together, and ask who you would prefer administered the test (some times, the only choice will be your doctor).

The test itself only takes a couple of minutes. Lay down, take a deep breath and try to relax. You’ll feel a brief bit of pressure, and a cold sensation down there, but before you know it the doctor will be telling you it’s all over. Then you can pull up your pants and go, free as a bird can be – until next year anyway.

In an effort to show you that everyone who gets a pap test – no matter what their experience – gets through it in the end, we decided to interview a few girls who had some interesting experiences of their own.

The stories are true, but the names have been changed. ‘Regina’ told us about her hilarious experience at the gyno.

It was Regina’s first pap test, for which she claims to have been so nervous, “even her vajajay was nervous.” When she arrived, she stripped down and put on the provided gown, and situated herself on the bed. By the time her doctor re-enter the room, she was laying on the bed, feet in the stirrups. Asked to slide a little closer, Regina obliged – but after moving a few inches, she still wasn’t close enough. In the end, Regina got a little too close for comfort. In one fell swoop, socks and all, she slipped off the bed and landed on the doctor’s lap. There she was, literally caught with her pants down.

The worst part, she told us, was that the doctor still had to perform the pap test.

“All I could think was: I just gave my doctor a naked lap dance. Who says medicare in Canada doesn’t come at a price?”

Another interviewee, who we’ll call ‘Dolores’, also had a funny experience at the gyno. Dolores was not new to pap tests. What was new to her at this appointment, however, was seeing oven mitts on the stirrups. Apparently women complained too much about cold feet, so the oven mitts were there to provide a solution. Not thinking anything of it, Dolores got situated on the bed and was about to place her feet on the stirrups when she noticed something peculiar.

When questioned by her doctor upon her recommendation that he reconsider the oven mitts, she explained.

“Your oven mitts say bon appetite.”

Dolores appreciated the humor of the situation.

“All pap tests are uncomfortable,” she told us, “but it’s what you make of them.”

Regina and Dolores are two women who had unusual experiences at the gyno, but they both got through it okay. Pap tests are an essential part of women’s health, and we advise all women who are feeling anxious about getting one to think of their stories to help alleviate their stress.

If you’re due for a pap test, or if you’re a pap virgin, schedule one now. You can even have one performed right here on campus. Book an appointment with the Health Center in the Student Union today!