Scheduling a colposcopy exam can come with a flood of anxieties – will it be uncomfortable? What if you receive an abnormal Pap? What comes next?
If you’re feeling these concerns, you are not alone. We are here to equip you with a few ways to prepare your body, mind, and cervix for your next appointment.
If you have never had a colposcopy before, here is a little bit about what you can expect in the exam.
How To Prepare For Your Next Colposcopy Appointment
Feeling prepared for your appointment can reduce some of your anxieties and fears, we recommend:
- Scheduling your Pap appointment at an appropriate date and time can be helpful to reduce the stress leading up to the exam. Aim to schedule the appointment for the morning so you won’t increase your anxiety by spending the entire day thinking about it. It can also help to pick a day when you have fewer commitments. With less to do that day, you can schedule some time to do something nice for yourself after your appointment.
- Write a note for the appointment including important information and any questions you may have. For example:
- The last date of your period and cycle length
- Any medications you are taking
- Additional diagnosis
- Plans to conceive
- Remind your doctor of your unique situation. Jot down any questions you might have about your appointments, test results, and procedures. Knowing when and what is being tested over the coming months and year can help you plan and feel more prepared.
- Take some time to get into your body. Doing something that engages your physical body or senses can help get you out of your mind and into your body. We recommend:
- Try a morning meditation
- Go for a walk
- Practice yoga
- Listen to relaxing music
- Inhale some essential oils
Are you ready to respond to HPV?
- Release your fears. Writing or speaking about your fears can be a helpful way of releasing them from inside of us. Take a few minutes to notice and acknowledge the thoughts you are having. Are they true? Are they helpful? Can you reframe your thinking?
- Create a mantra. Creating a mantra to repeat to yourself when anxious thoughts arise is another helpful technique to release anxiety. Something as simple as, “I am healthy, I am strong, I trust myself” can help bring us back into an empowered mindset.
At the Appointment:
- Share your questions, anxieties, and fears with your doctor. Most doctors understand the stress of the situation and voicing your fears can help them reassure you about the process and your health.
- Bring a token with you. During the appointment, it can be helpful to have something you can hold in your hands to ease anxiety. You may want to bring a crystal, stress ring, or bracelet.
- Use touch to calm the mind. Use your finger or hands to gently massage the back of your neck or wrist areas. These areas contain pressure points that can help bring us back to the present and increase feelings of relaxation.
- Be your own advocate. Often, we look to authority to guide us instead of looking within. Remember that your doctors see many patients every day and despite caring for your health, they don’t live and experience your body as you do. You know your body and know what feels right or wrong. You are the best advocate for your health – so, voice something if you feel it is needed.
After the Appointment:
- You did it! A colposcopy is hard, so be proud of showing up and making it through. Give yourself a hug and reward yourself with something you enjoy. Take a quiet bubble bath with candles, buy yourself flowers, release the tension with a sweaty yoga class, or schedule a catch-up with your most supportive friends. Do what makes you feel best.
- Schedule your follow-up appointments and reflect on where you want to be at that time. Are there elements of your lifestyle you want to focus on changing between now and then? Make a list of things you can do to support yourself through this time.
- Obtain your results online. Many offices now offer online results. For some, it may be helpful to review your results at home before your appointment. Take time to think of any questions or concerns and allow yourself to enter your next appointment feeling informed.
Are you ready to respond to HPV?
Unfortunately, we sometimes have to go to uncomfortable appointments because it is important for our health. In these times, we need a little extra self-care and grounding. We hope these tips provide some value and stress relief for your next visit but keep in mind that you are your own expert – your best guide is to look within!