Do I need to get a cervical smear?

Do I still need to go for a cervical smear test if I'm not having sex?

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Cervical screening is a method of preventing cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells in a woman's cervix (neck of the womb). Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is passed by skin-to-skin contact. Any woman who has had sex, including sex with another woman, may have come into contact with HPV and should therefore have cervical screening.

Your risk of developing cervical cancer is low if you've never been sexually active. You may decide that you don't want to have a cervical screening test when you are invited. However, you can still have a test if you want one.

If you've ever had sex or been sexually active, you should have regular cervical screening tests, regardless of your sexuality.

I have had a sharp pain in the left side of my ribs for about a week, which I think I got while playing rugby. It is very noticeable when I lie down and is very sore to raise my upper body and breathe deeply?

You are very likely to have sustained an injury to one or more of your ribs. It can be very painful and is often worsened by movement. Resting and avoidance of contact sports will help. Simple painkillers can also help.

More serious rib injuries can cause damage to the lungs. People with more serious injuries usually experience one or more of the following symptoms; breathlessness; coughing up blood; dizziness on standing. If you experience any of these, immediately contact medical services.

Seeing your GP would confirm what type of injury you have however they are likely to advise to continue what you are already doing along with pain relief. X-rays or A&E attendance for this type of injury is not usually necessary unless there is a severe injury, or suspicion of a break.

WHAT IS... HAEMOPHILLIA?

Haemophilia is a disorder of the blood-clotting system. Normally, when you cut yourself your blood plugs the wound by changing from a liquid to a solid and forming a blood clot. If you have haemophilia, your blood will not clot normally and you may bleed for longer than normal, or you may bleed internally, particularly into joints such as your knees, elbows and ankles.

There is no cure for haemophilia. Treatment for the condition is based on 'replacement therapy' - replacing the clotting factor that is too low or missing.

Replacement clotting factor can be given as needed, or regular injections can be given two or three times a week to keep the levels of clotting factor in the blood high enough so that bleeding does not occur. This can reduce the amount of time those with severe haemophilia need to spend in hospital and minimise the likelihood of long term joint damage.

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