Nurses who play music in their examination rooms can help women relax during colposcopy procedures, say scientists.
If a cervical smear test reveals abnormal cells, women will often undergo a colposcopy procedure where a specialist nurse studies the cervix using a microscope.
Many women become highly anxious and stressed in the time before and during a colposcopy procedure.
But Cochrane Collaboration scientists who studied 11 trials with 1,441 women found that listening to music prevented women becoming as stressed during their colposcopy.
Watching the procedure on a TV monitor also helped women to remain calm.
However, reading information leaflets and watching video information before the procedure failed to prevent women from becoming stressed while the procedure was taking place.
Lead researcher Khadra Galaal at the Northern Gynaecological Centre said: "Using the best ways of helping women relax during the process makes it less unpleasant and could consequently help increase the numbers of women who take up the offer of screening."