Cervical cancer

Andy Nordin, a gynaecological oncologist, explains the symptoms of cervical cancer, who’s most at risk and the treatment options.

Media last reviewed: 21/02/2013

Next review due: 21/02/2015

Try not to worry

If you are referred for a colposcopy after an abnormal screening test you shouldn't assume you have cervical cancer. Less than one in 1,000 women referred for a colposcopy are found to have cervical cancer that requires immediate treatment.

The reason so much emphasis is placed on screening for cervical cancer is that there are easily recognisable changes to cells that can develop many years before a cancer can develop. Diagnosing and treating these cases at an early stage can prevent cancer from ever developing.

A colposcopy is a procedure during which the surface of the cervix is closely examined using a magnifying instrument called a colposcope.

A specialist, called a colposcopist, performs the procedure to check the cells on the surface of the cervix for abnormalities.

Why do I need a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is usually carried out when the results of a cervical screening test (smear test) indicate there are abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

A colposcopy may also be used to investigate things such as unexplained vaginal bleeding (such as after sex), an inflamed cervix, and unexplained pelvic pain.

Read more about why colposcopy is used.

What happens?

During a colposcopy, you lie down in a special type of chair which has padded supports to rest your legs on. A device called a speculum is gently inserted into your vagina and opened to allow your colposcopist to see your cervix (the same as when you have a cervical smear test).  

Your cervix is then examined with a colposcope. A colposcope is an instrument with a light and magnifying lens that stays outside your body and allows your colposcopist to see any abnormalities.

A small sample of tissue may also be removed for further testing during a process known as a biopsy.

The examination lasts about 20 minutes, but the whole appointment can take about an hour.

It is usually a painless procedure, although some women do find it uncomfortable. If you are concerned, you could take a painkiller, such as paracetamol, beforehand. However, do not take aspirin or ibuprofen as they may increase your chance of bleeding afterwards.

Read more about what happens during a colposcopy.

Results and treatment

The colposcopist can usually determine straight away if there are any cell abnormalities and whether treatment is required, although it may take a few weeks to get the results of a biopsy.

The extent of the abnormal cells will be graded on a scale of one to three, with three indicating the highest level of abnormality.

Read more about colposcopy results.

Mild abnormalities do not always need to be treated, as they can improve without it.

If treatment is required, the aim is to remove abnormal cells, while preserving as much normal tissue as possible.

The most common treatment is large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ). This is a quick procedure that involves using a heated loop of wire to remove the abnormal cells. This procedure usually only lasts a few minutes and can be done during a colposcopy.

The removal of abnormal cervical cells is almost always 100% successful and it is unlikely that any cell changes will occur in the future.

Read more about colposcopy treatments.

Page last reviewed: 17/10/2012

Next review due: 17/10/2014


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The 103 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

marie533 said on 22 October 2014

Hi, I would like to tell anyone who's as worried as I was having a loop excision. Iwas also worried about the adrenalin rush that I had read about in previous comments. The whole procedure was painless and the adrenalin rush was also nothing to worry about, I barely noticed it. I was imagining all sorts including dying. I feel so silly now and have been told that if there was any abnormal cells they have been treated with the procedure and no follow up would be necessary. I will still get results in six weeks but either way my mind has been put at rest.I know see this as a positive experience and don't want anyone to worry. Just keep having regular smear tests and all should be ok.

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Miss Chalmers said on 10 October 2014

Hi. I wanted to come back here to share my experience as the comments below made me feel sometimes better and sometimes worse but even so I think it's important to share.
I had my 1st smear test aged 25 in Nov '12. The test showed abnormal changes and positive for HPV. I couldn't believe it! I have always been so healthy and was not expecting it at all. I was called in for a colposcopy and they took a biopsy at the same time. The procedure was uncomfortable but in comparison to the overwhelming fear I felt about having something wrong it was a breeze. I took a friend in with me which I would recommend. I was so worked up I couldn't take in all the information so it was good as she was able to tell me everything again afterwards. The biopsy results confirmed mild changes and I was told to come back in 6 months for another smear.
One thing I want people to know about my experience is I suffered heavily with anxiety. I was convinced I was going to get sick and die. As much as people told me I was being irrational I could not stop feeling this way.
This only worsened when after my 2nd smear in Sept '13 I was diagnosed with severe dyskaryosis. I was called back to hospital but this time for LLETZ treatment. Again this wasn't great but not horrendous. I don't think anyone needs to worry about the procedures, they are all very routine and don't take long.
So after all this I was feeling very low. I am in a loving relationship but we don't have kids yet so I was terrified I was going to end up infertile. After the treatment I was told I had to come back in 6 months for another smear. I think the waiting and not knowing was the worst part!
Anyway today I got my smear results back and they are all clear! I don't need to go back for 3 years and tested negative for HPV. I really hope this can help others realise it doesn't have to mean cancer and that the tests are a wonderful thing. Try to keep calm and remember it'll more than likely be okay.

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LilyPad88 said on 12 August 2014

I've been going to see my doctor for along time now for pain, I had endometriosis 5 years ago had a surgical procedure and medication which got rid of it in the end. The end of last year it came back so I had the same again.... but I'm still in pain the doctors seem to think the medication got rid of my endo and it is something else that is causing the pain.
It is very uncomfortable and painful during sex and I often bleed. I've had the marina coil for 4 years now and they did say it may be that causing the problems but if they take it out it could make matters worse. So I am now being referred back the hospital for a colposcopy and I'm just worried about the whole thing. As supportive as my partner is, it gets embarrassing after a while of continuous bleeding and pain every time he touches me. Just want it over with.
feeling very down :(

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ilovecats474 said on 31 July 2014

I went to the doctors for a suspected lump I had felt in my vagina. The doctor had a quick look up inside and said she had seen something a bit like a rash on my cervix. I immediately thought OH NO cervical cancer. She recommended I go see another doctor for a second opinion which I did and was then referred for a Colposcopy. I was so scared - not of the procedure but the thought of what was there. I had a normal smear 1 year ago, no abnormal bleeding and no discharge/pain so was confused. The lump by the way had disappeared. I waited 2 weeks for my appointment letter and then another 6 weeks for my actual appointment and as time went on I got more and more anxious and scared.
Anyway I went this Tuesday - the doctor had a quick look with the naked eye and said your fine no treatment needed. I didn't even have the Colposcopy. I wrote this to try and reassure women that things are never as bad as they first seem. Please don't think even if you have symptoms that you have cancer. 4 years ago I had horrible brown discharge/period and only had 3 days free and then started again, I had an internal exam - smear and a pelvic scan and all was fine. I was given the progesterone only pill and I have had no issues since. I hope this helps someone whos going through similar things.

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Tky2014 said on 30 May 2014

I recently had a severely abnormal smear and was really sick with worry. I had the calposcopy 11 days ago. It wasn't anywhere as bad as I expected the staff were amazing and really reassuring . I did find it a bit uncomfortable but after the week of worry it was nothing. I had some treatment and now Im Waiting for the biopsy results. I didnt really bleed much at the time but today ive started to bleed well it's more like discharge really. I have like a period pain. Did that happen to anyone else? I didn't expect to start bleeding after 11 days, I don't know if it's normal or something else to worry about now.

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barney77 said on 16 May 2014

I just wanted to share my experience with others....

I recently went for my smear, my first one at the grand old age of 37. Prior to that I couldn't face the thought of attending one (poor excuse I know). A couple of weeks later I received my results informing me that they had found abnormal cells, plus HPV. I kind of expected this given that it was my first one. Despite this, I was absolutely beside myself and in floods of tears.

Fast forward a couple of weeks later and I attended my colposcopy appointment. Again, I was really anxious and upset, however, the Consultant and nursing staff were lovely and explained to me why the procedure was necessary and the purpose of the procedure (even drew a little sketch for me!).

I found the position that I was in more uncomfortable than the actual procedure itself. I didn't feel the liquid or the biopsy being taken, however, I did take some pain relief prior to this... just in case!

Afterwards, I felt a bit crampy and didn't have any bleeding. Cramps started in the evening and felt abit fragile the following day, but was ok to go to work.

If I can go through this (I'm a wimp!) you can!!

Good luck to anyone going through this... the worst thing for me is the waiting x

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itansley said on 08 May 2014

I was referred for a Colposcopy because my gp surgery could not find me cervix.

I was referred to the city hospital in Nottingham, I knew what the procedure was as I watched a video on youtube to show me what it would be like. The leaflets that was sent to me with my letter was very helpful and explained well.

When I arrived my appointment was on time, the nurse and consultant that seen me was VERY nice and consulted me very well. The procedure was straight forward and he examined my cells before swabbing, if there was any abnormalities the treatment would of been offered to me on the day but I didn't have treatment so I am assuming they looked healthy. It hurt when they opened up the cervix due to not having children and my cervix has not been stretched.

A quick ten mins procedure and it was done! I spent more time undressing and dressing then the actual procedure!!! Plus I was really nervous but my consultant kept making jokes which helped me to calm down and I kept talking to the nurse which helped ALOT! Make sure you take a sanitary towel because you do tend to spot after for about 15mins

Well worth it and would recommend any one to go if they are referred.

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proudmummie said on 30 April 2014

Hi , i was just after a bit of insight. Im 21 and have been having bad irregular bleedimg for over a year and started bleedig after intercorse and also it was painful during intercorse. I kept going to my doctor who told me it was nothig to worry about ,which he kept telling me for over a year until my nurse sent me to see a differemt doctor who did a cervical examination and found cysts in the neck of my womb she also took swabs and did a pap test and refered me to go for a colposcopy . My swabs and pap test came back clear , but i had my colposcopy today and a biopsy which i found very painful. She has also refered me for a scan and has sed that once my scan results come back if there normal im to have something burnt off my cervix .. Has anyone else had the same or been refered for a scan after a colposcopy. Im a bit confused and as i was a bit shook up after it didnt ask y she took the biopsy and if she saw any abnormalities.thanks x

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peloreta said on 27 April 2014

I had my colposcopy on Thursday. Dr and nurse were nice. However, DR didn't explained that much what he was doing. It was very painful (never had any painful smear tests before!) I felt fire inside of me - pretty horrible and had very unpleasant cramps in the lower abdominal area. DR took some samples for biopsy - it felt like he was peeling off cells with a very sharp knife. At that point I couldn't wait until this is over. I's been the fourth day since then and I still have strange colour (brownish) discharges and my breast is so tense, swollen and few sizes larger than normal. I have to wait few weeks for biopsy result...Who knows what it shows..So, fingers crossed for all of you! Take care and be strong!

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Nikki11 said on 10 April 2014

I had my smear in feb a week later I had my results showing CIN3 a week after that I had my colposcopy the consultant was awful he had no people skills made me feel uncomfortable and I was upset before he even looked at me due to his manner, then the actual procedure it wasn't too bad he could see the abnormal cells but decided to only take a couple of biopsies again this wasn't so bad had mild cramps after but that was it. A few weeks later I had Lletz done under GA after this procedure I was in pain and felt weak and dazed I was discharged about two hours after they sent me home with the heart monitor sticky pads on and I had no idea how the procedure went how much was taken etc if it was abnormal cells or something else I literally know nothing! I feel really let down that I wasn't told this information surely I should of been? I'm now 6 days post Lletz and have an infection so taking antibiotics for it, I'm hoping when I call the clinic today I will be told more information as I feel this is something I should of been told before I was discharged, after the procedure I was in too much pain and dazed to even think of anything to ask.

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ktop said on 05 April 2014

Well ive just had my return colposcopy and it was so different from the first. At the first I had minor discomfort even when the biopsies were taken. At my second the procedure took longer ( my cervix was hiding?!?)which was understandable. The discomfort was afterwards. My bits were on fire!!!!! Has anyone else had this??? Abnormalities seen so now its the waiting part. Am I likely to have treatment next now?? They've already said a local anaesthetic would be out of the question due to my awkward position of my cervix. Feedback greatly received.

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emeli88 said on 25 March 2014

Hello Girls,
I wish I had seen this page when I was had my first smear test.
I turned 25 recently and was invited to have my first smear test, I was very worried about having it done but knew it was so important.
I went along to the doctors, all went well and the nurse made me feel really comfortable and explained everything.
I then waited for my results which came back as low grade changes but high risk hpv.
I didn't know anything about hpv and thought the worse straight away.
I went to the hospital and they took a biopsy, this felt like a little pinch, again the doctor and nurse was really lovely. I was so worried I started crying and felt quite emotional.
I then waited for my results to come back, my changes showed CIN1 & CIN3. I was told that hpv is very common but was advised to stop smoking as it would take longer to clear the hpv.
I had the Letz loop treatment which took a couple of minutes, I was told that I may feel a little uncomfortable and some bleeding for a few days and just to rest.
I have just had my results back that the procedure was successful and the removed the CIN1 & CIN3. I have been invited back for my next smear in 6months time.
I was really worried about it all and had no one to talk
Too and felt that I was the only one who had hpv etc. I didn't understand, hence why I wish I had seen all your comments of women who also have this.
I really hope you are all now well and all your different procedures went well.

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tfl243 said on 28 February 2014

Having read the numerous accounts on here I was surprised to see how young most people are. So I thought I would give my experience as an older childless lady.
I am nearly 52 and have had numerous smear tests over the years and never suffered any pain or discomfort.
I had a smear test in Dec and for the first time found it very uncomfortable bordering painful,and then the results came back with abnormal cells and mild HPV .
So off for the Colposcopy on Tues last.
The doctor explained what would happen and that a biopsy might be required.
I had taken some pain relief as suggested in the information.
The usual procedure, cervix covered in 2 different liquids to show abnormalities, then advised that 3 biopsy's would be taken. This is when I felt real discomfort and pain and became hot and clammy and felt sick .
The DR. and nurse were great.
Not having had kids and being post menopausal meant my cervix was very small, and tight and shrunk (what ever that means) and somewhat explains the pain I felt. Since Tues I have not felt that great, nausea everyday, a bloated stomach and cramps. I am unsure if this is linked to the procedure or just a coincidence.
Now the long wait for the results begin .

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Katefur said on 13 February 2014

After having a pap smear which came back as high grade dykaryosis & positive HPV I was referred for colposcopy. After checking in with reception I was taken to a waiting area to complete a health questionnaire. Once this was completed I was taken into the treatment room. I was greeted by a Dr, nurse & a student nurse. The Dr sat me down with my husband & explained my pap results including drawing diagrams. He explained due to the results it would be beneficial to have treatment on the day.The nurse led me to an area to take my trousers & underwear off, then to sit comfortably on the chair with a sheet covering me. The Dr came in & asked if I was ready & if I wanted to watch it on TV. Once I was comfortable the speculum was inserted & the Dr started the examination. He showed me my cervix on the screen & explained the steps of iodine & vinegar whilst doing it. He said biopsies & lletz treatment would need to be done. The Dr turned the TV away as he said injections, biopsies & treatment would not be nice to watch. I felt the the first injection but only a very slight pain & the Dr explained my heart may start to race & legs shake (which they did). He waited a few minutes for them to work then started on the biopsies & lletz. I didn't notice either & it felt like it was over quickly (40 mins from going in to going into recovery). The nurse & student nurse were amazing throughout the whole experience. The nurse explained everything to me as the Dr was doing what needed to be done. Once it was all finished I got dressed & the Dr asked how I was feeling & that he would write to me with the biopsy results. I was taken to recovery where we were given a cup of tea & thdy asked me to wait 20 minutes. The next day I am suffering with slight period pains & cramp but am taking it easy. Fingers crossed for the biopsy results :)

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xnikij said on 27 January 2014

Went for my colposcopy this morning - I wore a maxi skirt to avoid having to get fully undressed and took some pads with me, as well as a bottle of water and some chocolate bars and satsumas in case I felt weak. I also took 2 paracetemol about half an hour before the appt. in case of pain.

I saw a very friendly colposcopy nurse who talked me through what was going to happen and encouraged me to ask any questions. I decided that I didn't want the treatment today, but to wait for the results of the biopsy instead. I asked about local anaesthetic for the biopsy and she said that the injection itself would likely be more painful than the biopsy, so we could try taking one sample and if it was too painful I could have anaesthesia before taking further samples if I wanted.

I was led to a changing area by an assistant nurse and asked to get ready and then come through to the treatment room when I was ready to. There was a small wash area, toilet and wipes and pads provided.

In the treatment room I was asked to lift my skirt at the back and take a seat on a raised chair, then to lift my skirt at the front and rest my legs on two padded leg rests. The assistant nurse held a blanket/sheet to cover my modesty and this was then placed to cover from my stomach to my knees once I was in position and she stayed by my head with only the colposcopist able to view under the sheet. I felt as comfortable as I could have and very at ease, if a bit nervous.

The procedure took about 10 minutes overall and it was completely fine. I found the worst part was having the speculum inserted and removed, but it wasn't painful, just uncomfortable. I had braced myself for the biopsies to be very painful with blood everywhere, but it was not painful for me at all and I was so relieved that I have felt elated ever since! I had mild to moderate period-type pain for about 45 minutes afterwards and a very small amount of blood. I now feel back to normal and very happy with my experience!

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x_emma_x said on 14 January 2014

Hi all,

This morning I had my first colposcopy examination. After reading some of the comments on here a few days ago I was absolutely terrified so I felt I should share my experience.

As I have recently turned 25, I went for my first smear test a couple of months ago which came back as detecting borderline changes along with high-risk HPV infection and so I was referred for a colposcopy.

This morning I went along to the hospital feeling very nervous. The two nurses who did my examination were lovely and really helped to relax me.

The colposocopy itself did not hurt at all, although it isn't a very pleasent experience and I came away feeling quite down. But the key thing is to relex so it can be over and done with as quickly as possible. Some abnormalities came up during my examination so a biopsy has been taken for further analysis. This didn't really hurt but I've taken the rest of the day off of work because it left me feeling like I've got bad period pain.

The whole thing took no more than half an hour and really was not as terrifying or painful as I thought it was going to be so I hope this will help anyone reading this feel a little bit less worried about it all :)

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dusp said on 23 November 2013

After a colposcopy last year when I didn't need treatment, today the doc decided I did. The nurses were lovely and although I was an emotional wreck they were very supportive. Personally I found the local anesthetic injections pretty painful but I think part of it is knowing whats causing the pain rather than the pain level itself. After that, the actual treatment wasn't painful, just unpleasant as someone is poking around inside you! I feel a bit sore and drained now but relieved its done. I would advise that if you can, take someone along with you for moral support, I found I wanted a hug more than I wanted any painkillers!

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Xnataliex said on 23 November 2013

Hi my results come back as severe I was offered treatment the day of my coloscopy i had cautery and loop biopsy most of it was pain free but parts hurt but nothing that's unbearable, the most horrible part is the indignified position your in and you can't stop shaking through the adrenalin they give you I was quite upset towards the end I think it was all te worrying over the weeks, I was not in much pain at all after was expecting more just a light period pain, after a few days I started having what only can describe as bits of coal coming out of me they said this is normal then the bleeding started it has been 4 weeks now and still some bleeding I've got to go back for another smear and I'm praying it's all ok I'm 34 and this was my first smear silly I know feel so stewpid not having one before but to go through what I have and the worrying I will never miss one again!!

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MrsPoole33 said on 21 November 2013

Hi all, my smear came bk within 4 days showing high abnormalities, I got all the leaflets of information which was great beacuse I knew what was goin on, I was in hospital within a week of that letter for a colposcopy, the nurses and doctor were absolutely amazing, reassuring constantly, I found the procedure extremely uncomfortable but thats just me, not everyone is like me haha. I had a biopsy and was offered treatment straight away but as I was getting married in 4 days they explained that there was no harm to be done waiting a few weeks until the biopsy results came bk, also as I did find it so uncomfortable they offered for me to have the treatment under a general which im extremely grateful for :) so 5 weeks later my results came back, CIN3 and the day after was my pre op appointment ( today ) and I go in Monday for treatment x no messing up here lol overall I have to say the nhs staff at our hospital are second to none, nothing is left wondering about and everyone has been understanding to my worry and reassuring x

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SwallowtailLou21 said on 16 November 2013

Hi all!

So my first smear came back with abnormal 'mild dyskaryosis' - was invited for a colposcopy in November 2013. Read through all the leaflets and advice that was sent to me, and I wasn't feeling overly worried.

However I feel I must be honest - I found the whole thing horrific! The insertion of the speculum was extremely uncomfortable - so much so that I almost wriggled off the couch! Looking back, it may have been better had I been laid flat like I was during my smear, instead of the half-sitting position with legs in stirrups.

The acetic acid application wasn't too bad - just a mild 'burning' sensation which quickly disappeared.

The worst part of the whole thing was the biopsy! All the leaflets, the gynaecologist, and the nurse said it wouldn't hurt - that I would feel just a small pinch. Well I'm sorry - but it was excruciating! Two biopsies were taken and each one made me scream! Afterwards, there seemed to be quite a bit of bleeding (I could see on the screen linked to the camera!) - but neither gynae nor nurse reassured or informed me if this was normal or not which made me panic.

After the procedure, I was very shaky and felt a bit sick! I calmed down after about an hour, and then just felt a bit sore.

I really do think that the leaflets and info provided need to be more realistic and honest about how painful the procedure could be. Also, I think women should be offered the choice of having a local anaesthetic if they are to have biopsy. I though I had quite a good pain threshold (all the fillings in my teeth have been done without any local anaesthetic) - so whether the gynae was rough or I'm just sensitive in that area I don't know! But one thing is for sure - if I need another examination or any treatment when the results come back I will definitely ask for a local anaesthetic!

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hippychick29 said on 07 November 2013

Hi all!
I had a colposcopy in July and a loop diathermy at the start of August, and after 6 weeks of cramping and bleeding I thought I was healed ok. I have to be re-tested in a few months, but I am wondering if anyone who had the diathermy a while ago has had a random re-occurrence of cramping?
I had cramping after intercourse the other day...not agonising but like quite bad period pain. Now...1.5weeks into my pill packet (so half way through my cycle), I am bleeding like it's my period! This hasn't happened before and I've been on this pill for over a year now.

Anyone have the same?

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helenc88 said on 25 October 2013

Had my colposcopy on 22/10/2013 as I had severe dyskaryosis (results from the previous smear).

I had a Doctor that I had a few years ago which put me at ease a bit as I had been a bit nervous! He was very lovely, as were the nurses.

I must admit it the procedure and treatment was rather uncomfortable, I tried to relax the muscles but it can be a bit tricky! I felt a bit of pain during the loop excision but I think this is more to do with my resistance to anesthetic.

I'm a little worried about my biopsy results as he had been chipper and bubbly before and during the appointment but he went very serious about halfway through. But I'm trying not to worry about something I don't know yet.

Aftermath pain I think depends on how much you've had removed. Some women have small patches removed, others larger (dependent on grading). Mine hurts quite a lot still as mine was a large patch but am hoping I'm back to normal soon.

Hoping my biopsy will be normal, and whilst I will attend my next checkup smear in 6 months.. I now do dread it.

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cath24 said on 23 October 2013

i just had my colposcopy done, my smear results was mild. so was not that worried about it just nervous as i heard that they can be painful at times.
Now i am worried. My doctor was all happy and great at keeping me calm and then mid examination he just became serious and said you will need treatment. but your results will tell us what treatment is best. now i am a mess with worry and got to wait four weeks.

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mumstheword88 said on 21 October 2013

I had my Colposcopy on 7th October. Ive got to admit i was petrified. I got my results from the GP which said i had high grade dyskaryosis. From that moment on i was a nervous wreck. When i got the hospital i had mother with me (still a mammys girl at heart :-) the staff were so friendly and really put me at ease. It wasnt painful at all. It was uncomfortable but that was due to my cervix being at an awkward angle. While i was there they performed a Loop biopsy. Again this wasnt painful at all. It stung a little while they gave me the local anaesthetic.
If im honest i thought all my worries would go away but now im still waiting for my results and i still cant seem to relax about the whole situation. I just wish the results would hurry up now.

For anyone worried about the colposcopy its nothing to be worried about. Its just like a normal smear test :-)

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Ashy123 said on 17 October 2013

Went for my colposcopy and I was petrified legs shaking scared! My own fears though! The staff where brilliant and I'm quite ashamed that I fretted as its nothing to worry about I found it about the same as a smear except the punch biopsy that I had taken was a little uncomfortable but I wouldn't say painful now I'm expearancing a little bleeding and its a little sore but again bareable just have 2 wait for my results and go 4 my loop I will be a lot less scared next time

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Sheraa said on 04 July 2013

I had my first one about 3 hours ago. Was sweating bullets from fear after reading some comments about the pain on the Internet. The nurses were very reassuring and put me at ease, told them how scared I was, even had the option to watch it on the screen next to me (but didn't). It was nothing to worry about really. It was a bit uncomfortable and there was a tiny bit of pain and felt like tugging, not a massive deal though. I was more embarrassed about how much of a pansy I looked. I have a tiny bit of bleeding which I fully expected, and every now and then I'm getting a twinge like period pains. Managed to go out for dinner straight after. Seriously nothing to worry about to anyone like me, young and a first timer.

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Emilyphemily1989 said on 30 May 2013

Hi everyone! It's great to hear everyone's comments and that people are going through similar experiences.
I recently reviewed my appointment for a colposcopy, and I am so scared. I had been experiencing bleeding between period and after sex for 5 months or moe. I have only recently turned 24 and I mentioned this to my GPgo referred me a family planning clinic that would be able to help. Basically the nurse I seenasshmes it was a a horme problem due to my pill and would let me have a smear, so after another month or so I went back again to gp who finally refered me, now I am petrified that I will have cancer and that I should have been more pushy and instant months ago when the problem began.
My advice would be to trust your in instincts and insist on getting refered.

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wizz441 said on 20 May 2013

I went for a Colposcopy a month ago but thought I should put my experience up.

I am 25 and it was my first smear - the results came back mildly abnormal so I had to wait for the hospital to call me for an appointment. This took a couple of weeks.

I went to the Royal Free in London and I was very worried and teary! The nurse and doctor made me laugh early on and although I stumbled over a few questions they were very friendly and gentle. It was all over within 5 minutes and much like having a smear done only with stirrups. The doctor told me she could see nothing wrong and to come back in a year for another smear.

I was very relieved not to have a biopsy or further treatment but thought I should write about my experience to show that sometimes it really is just a precaution to help you catch any first glimpses of any trouble and you could be absolutely fine. It really is nothing to worry about and I felt like the doctors and nurses really knew what they were doing and wanted to help.

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Kiki dee said on 24 April 2013

I have had abnormal smears for years and previously been referred to the colposcopy clinic in the past, so wasnt surprised when my last smear came back the same. Was given a appointment for 6 weeks time but called them and said I was available for cancellations at short notice and 2 days later they called me with an appointment for the next afternoon. Went through the normal procedure of legs in stirrups while the doctor checked out my cells, she showed me the white 'abnormal' cells on the screen and asked if I would like some treatment there and then which in most cases is 95 % successful. I agreed and she explained that I would be having Diathermy loop treatment (LLETZ). They inserted a metal speculum and have me a local anaesthetic into my cervix, it made me feel a bit warm and my heart raced,like palpitations for a minute or two, she checked I was numb and then inserted the wire which I didn't feel at all, all I could feel was her moving the speculum slightly from side to side,just slightly uncomfortable. She explained it all as she went along and it was all over in around 10 minutes, I was given a pad for spotting, had a little chat and off I went. Will have to wait for 4 weeks for the results and if ok return in 6 months. All in all the treatment was pretty painless and fingers crossed its done the trick for me.

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Most386 said on 10 April 2013

Hi, I just wanted to share my experience. I read this page a lot before going and both good and bad stories were really helpful at knowing what to expect.
I had two abnormal smears, both showing mild dyskariosis, so I was called for a colposcopy.

I went to the hospital yesterday. The doctor explained that he was going to look at my cervix, use a solution to show up the abnormal cells and then take a biopsy. He said he would apply some iodine solution to prevent infection, take the biopsy and then apply some silver nitrate solution to stop any bleeding. He said that he would expect the biopsy results to come back showing CIN1, which would mean I would have to go back in 6 months for a check up to see if it had resolved itself.

A nurse came in and got me into position - like a smear but your legs are in stirrups and the doctor uses a camera to look at your cervix. The speculum was quite uncomfortable but both the doctor and nurse kept me talking. The biopsy pinched, but wasn't overly painful. For me, the silver nitrate was really painful and as much as I tried to keep calm and control my breathing I was quite shaky afterwards. I would recommend taking someone with you to the hospital so they can drive you home if needed. Afterwards, I had cramps like period pain for several hours, but I took my usual painkillers and had a hot water bottle so it wasn't too bad. Today I feel absolutely fine. I just have to wait 2-3 weeks for the biopsy results.

So, please don't panic ladies. It's nerve wracking when you're not sure what to expect, but it's all over quite quickly!

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l87l said on 24 March 2013

My experience:

Step 1. Turn 25 and have Smear Test.

2. Smear comes back abnormal and positive for HPV

3. Wait for ages for hospital appointment for a 'colposcopy' examination.

4. Get to hospital. Examination exactly like smear but legs in stirrups and large microscope used with some dye on cells.

5. Nurse and Doctor say that it is High 'something<insert posh medical term for really bad abnormality in the cells.

6. Told to come back in 6 months to see if it gets better on its own.

7. 6 months later, Its not got better. Shown my cervix on a screen and can see are that has been bleeding and a number of abnormal cells with pattern to them.

8. Begining of Loop Diathermy Treatment < This bit is the treatment, not everyone has this. Hence most people just get to stage 6 on a colposcopy visit.

Whilst being told what im looking at, a local anesthetic is adminstered.

9. Noisy machine goes on. PAIN. No explanation of what they are doing. Very clever people, screen is turned off and its all over within minutes.

10. Pain is from muscles contracting like period cramps because of the intrusion. Immeadiately goes away afterwards.

11. Given leaflet. told to take paracetamol if pain continues. It doesnt.

12. Told samples of tissue will be tested. For what I dont know, nothing was explained. Presumably cancer??

13. 6 week wait for in week 4.

14. Post op symptoms. Pads needed constantly, liquidy discharge with blood. Scarring tissue toward end of week 1.

15. Told to get antibiotics if discharge becomes 'offensive'. Going to assume mine is not yet offensive.?!

Waiting.......25 and worried.

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MillyM said on 11 March 2013

Phew! It was only a bit worse than a smear test.
A cubicle was supplied for lower half undressing and a sheet provided though I was wearing a dress which helped. As soon as I was ready to sit on the examination table a nurse raised the sheet to protect my modesty.
I watched the screen and could see there were two small areas of abnormality and was reminded of how important it is to stop smoking because tobacco leaves contain a compound which is carcinogenic as well as yet unidentified harmful cancer causing agents. So, tomorrow I'll quit but right now I'm having a lovely pint of porter in an ale/ bookshop micro-brewery occasionally popping out for a ciggie.
The examination didn't last long. It was a bit uncomfortable (I should have tried to relax more) and everyone was extremely friendly.
There were plenty of tissues available in the cubicle to use before getting dressed (I didn't need many) and though I'd brought a sanitary towel in case of bleeding, I didn't need it.
One hour later and I'm in the pub still slightly uncomfortable but without pain.
Perhaps I've been one of the lucky ones (having read all the other comments beforehand) so I won't dread my repeat visit in six months' time.
I think the important thing to do is to try and relax as much as possible. After all, even though a colposcopy is a necessary evil, it's better than dying of cancer.
Good luck everyone.

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YellowFlower said on 04 March 2013

hi all.. I really don't know what to expect.. reading everyone's comments makes me nervous.. firstly I am 19 almost 20 and have had abnormal bleeding since august 2011.. I miscarried a few days before my birthday in august 2011, I was going the doctors a lot. I wasn't far gone but I was excited.. anyway.. I had the ROD put in a week after miscarrying. and I had non stop bleeding for 6 months. they said this was because of the rod. but they took it out in January 2012 and I stopped bleeding for a few days.. then it began again.. so from January 2012- October 2012 I was going back an forth to the doctors to try to get it sorted but they kept giving me swabs and all came back fine. (I told them it would as I have been with my partner for almost 2 years now) but the only thing is that it took them until October to do anything. but then I moved out of the catchment area for the doctors and so changed surgery but I had 4 weeks to be able to find a surgery but was able to go back to the one I was registered with for a while. they referred me on 28th November.. I was told 28 weeks until an appointment. I had no surgery from November-January as they wouldn't take me on an then my new surgery got on the case. he referred me to a different hospital but I was told that I would have to wait another 28 weeks. but luckily I received a letter last week (Feb) an my appointment is for April.. Progress at last! but now I am scared as I have a low pain threshold.. my boyfriend is taking me to the hospital. will he be able to come into the room with me? also will this affect my chances of having children? as we both would like to try again once I am sorted out. I have had about 1 maybe 2 days of no bleeding every couple of months.. I am scared and don't have anyone else to talk to about this.
any help and advice will be taken thanks. :)

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Suzanne1983 said on 22 February 2013

Firstly, thanks to everyone for sharing; reading about other people's experiences (good and bad!) was really helpful and prepared me for what to expect.
I just wanted to add something I hadn't seen mentioned here: I had a biopsy yesterday and was very close to fainting afterwards (blurred vision and fuzzy hearing, very weird). It was not down to the pain – which for me was like sudden, nasty period pain as the biopsy was taken (almost like she was using a tiny sink plunger!) but not too bad afterwards – but simply because 'the cervix doesn't like to be touched', according to the doctor, and lowers the pulse rate as a response. Apparently women passing out (vasovagal syncope) is really common in the colposcopy clinic (and more so where examinations of the womb take place) so I thought I'd warn you in case you start seeing stars – or worse, see another patient collapse in the corridor! The doctor and both nurses were incredibly nice and caring though and sorted me out with water and a lie-down as soon as I told them I was feeling light-headed.
None of it's a pleasant experience but it's over pretty quickly for the majority of people, from what I can tell.

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sll59 said on 25 October 2012

I recently had the colposcopy performed to after my frist smear test. I had two punch biopsies taken from the upper and lower parts of my cervix. The actualy procedure was fine and pain-free however I did have severe bleeding for 5 days and landed myself in A&E twice (My clinic was very un-intersted in my symptoms following the procedure).
The results came fairly quickly and indicated CIN2 for which I was booked in for the Loop. As I think is warrented in the situation, I wanted to change hospitals as I hadn't actually been given the choice by my GP, but after speaking which the nurse that performed the procedure she suggested I was put under the senior consultant. Two weeks ago I had my meeting and treatment done - during which I found out why I had such a traumatic experience first time round - I have an artery the runs across my cervix, thus it gets severed and bleeds like there's no tomorrow - The actual procedure was fine, painless, and a little uncomfortable and you'll only be there for a few minutes really - I however had to endure 10 minutes with them trying to cauterise the artery to stop the bleeding.
I was actually fine after and have experienced what is probably light bleeding (but I never use sanitary towels so seems heavier) since about day 8 and it has continues since.
I rang for my results today as I am yet to receive them (pending typing at the hospital) and the Gynae nurse accessed my records and gave me them...after all of that, it came back as CIN1! A great relief and all should be good.
I asked about the bleeding and she said to expect light bleeding on and off for up to 4 weeks but I am to contact them next week if it continues and that I will require and repeat smear in 6 months.
All in all, not the best experience in comparison but there is absolutely nothing to worry about. It's completely painless and they do make you feel very at ease.

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87scaredycat said on 09 October 2012

Hi all, I'm in a bit of a pickle and could do with some info/opinions/question answering!
I'm 25, fit & healthy, dont smoke etc etc. I went for my smear test about a month ago as per the letter sent from the GP. A couple of weeks after, I got a letter saying the results showed borderline changes, and traces of HPV virus.
I then got referred for a Colposcopy, which I had today (I managed to get a last minute cancellation space)..... The doctor said that there were cells that were abnormal, and took some biopsies which I will get results from in 2-4 weeks.

The problem is....I'm all booked and paid for a 6 month trip with my boyfriend until May, due to leave in 2 weeks. I'm really confused about the severity of the whole situation as the doctor who did the colposcopy made the somewhat patronising comment of ' well why did you have a smear when you knew you would be going away?, some patients just put it off until they get back'. Naively and optimistically, I didnt expect to require any further treatment etc after the smear, so thought....why not get it checked before I go away.But then she made the comment ' well if you need treatment you will have no choice but to come back'. I'm confused as to how on one hand she could say, most people just put it off until theyre back, but then also say that if I need treatment I'll have to come straight home.

I'm not in a complete mess because I cant change the flights or first part of our trip, and wont recieve the results from the biopsy until after I will have left the UK.

I was under the impression that, as with a number of female friends who had 'borderline' results and signs of HPV, I would be requested to come back for a smear in 6 months time. But now I'm scared my trip will have to be cancelled, or I'll have to fly back home not long after leaving.

Anyone have any useful advice/experience/or can help explain any of the above?!


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aflowerinyourhair said on 07 October 2012

Just thought I would add my experience here. Had my smear test done and it came back that I had severe dyskaryosis. Had a little freak out as I was not sure what this meant. Did some research and felt moderately better about it. My last smear 3 years previously was normal so I was surprised.

Went for my colposcopy. The nurses were very kind, although there were three in there with me and I found this excessive. One appeared to be there just to chat to me while I had the procedure and to be honest I could have done without that.

I was offered the opportunity to watch what the nurse was doing on the screen (I declined). It was uncomfortable but not painful. The nurse asked me to put my underwear back on and then left the room with the other two. A minute later one of them came back into the room and asked to take samples from my mouth, nose and groin to test for MRSA as I would be needing an operation to remove the cells! I was a bit shocked by this as it was kind of sprung on me.

When I went back out to speak to the nurse who had done the colposcopy she explained that I would need a LLETZ procedure but that she was unable to do it due to the area of the dyskaryosis and the awkward angle of my cervix (thanks a bunch, cervix!) So it would be better to have it done under general anaesthetic. I was quite upset about this as the only surgeons at the hospital who could do it are male, and I did not like the ideaof a man having access to my most private place when I was unconscious.

Nevertheless I knew it needed doing. I was admitted as a day case, and the operation took about 45 minutes. When I came round I was not in pain really apart from a little bit of cramping. The surgeon replaced my Mirena coil at the same time which saved me a job as it was due for a change.

I was told to expect a few weeks of bleeding but I had only a little bit for a couple of days and then was completely fine. I hope this will be the end but will know what to expect in future.

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CeaCea said on 04 September 2012

Hi there, I've been reading through comments but was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience to me and/or can offer any advice. I'm 19yrs old and have been experiencing discomfort during intercourse which I then went to the doctors about. Although I'm under 25 I was told a smear test would be a good idea- this came back normal. However it is clear something is unusual (I can feel a small ridge near my cervix) and have been told that after an ultrascan I'll probably need to be referred for a colposcopy to have a closer look at my cervix. However afer reading various articles online I discovered that this procedure is normal after an abnormal smear test so I'm left feeling worried and slightly confused. Any thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated.

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Angelam38 said on 23 August 2012

I recently had a smear test done, which showed abnormal cells. Was invited to go for colposcopy and when I arrived I was told I had cin2 and a loop would be done. Was shocked as wasn't aware of that information due to standard letter being sent. The procedure itself wasn't as bad as I thought. It was uncomfortable but not painful. Since I had Miranda coil in, they removed that and fitted new one after procedure. It's been 4 days but I'm still experiencing a pain, similar to a stitch, in my lower left side. Slight discharge but no bleeding at all. Not sure whether all normal or not. I've read that by day 10 I should expect to bleed....did anyone else experience that? Expecting results within 2 weeks, so hope its good news. If anyone has any questions just let me know on here.

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crh25 said on 15 August 2012

If anyone is on here wondering what to expect the coloscopy is fine. It looks like some people have had some quite different experiences - but then all people are different and have different pain thresholds which can explain some of that completely.

The actual discomfort factor isnt much different to the initial smear to be honest, and that's no different to a sexual health check for those who have been through that. I didn't think about it before I went for it, and found less worrying meant I wasnt tense (I would guess its probably better to be relaxed, thats what they told me for the smear). Fortunately I also had nurses chatting to be the whole way through as well so any pain wasnt focussed on.

It sounds like some people have been quite anxious before their appointments. Mine was borderline, so a less of an abnormal result. They also found HPV though which is the bit theyre more concerned about. Turns out this is very common, but is likely to have caused the borderline result.

However, I found the best way to think about the test is that this is a preventative health check - designed to check out and if necessary get rid of anything years before it could turn in to anything. Its a better safe than sorry in the future exercise, and not one where it is a case of life or death at all.

For me theyve done a biopsy, I dont remember any pain, all i was thinking was I just want the doc to do what he needs to do. He thinks I will just be monitored in 6 months with no treatment, but the worst case scenario is that i'll be called back for treatment and then the cells will be gone. I don't think i'd mind that either.

My main concern is that people go for these checks when they are called, because its very common that people need a doc to have another look to make sure things are all good. Some of the medical staff are excellent and can be at hand to help with any anxieties.
Also - only look at credible websites, don't self diagnose and think the worst.

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Spottydoggy said on 14 August 2012

I wanted to share my experience because when I got my letter to say my 'recent smear showed severe dyskariosis... It is unlikely you have cancer' I went to complete pieces. The combination of google and jade goody sent me into 3 whole days of panic and crying especially as I had not had a smear for 6 years. From the day I received the letter I had to wait 3 week to see a colposcopist, however I quickly discovered just how common this was and how many people I actually knew that had been through this and we're fine.
On the morning of my colposcopy I was very nervous and frightened that I would be that small percentage that was diagnosed with cancer. When I arrived at the hospital the nurses were absolutely fantastic. It was as if they could read my mind and were very reassuring telling they saw 400 women a month and approx 5 a year will be treated for cancer. I was told that if she saw clear CIN 2 or 3 then i would have the choice of treatment that day, which i said i would prefer. The colposcopist also told me that she would be honest and if she thought it was cancer she would tell me then. I was expecting it to be agonising but I honestly didn't feel a thing. She explained everything that she was doing and I was able to watch on the screen.
Despite having severe dyskariosis, the colposcopist didn't think that I had CIN3 and was questioning whether it was CIN 1 or 2. Because she didn't want to over treat me, she did two punch biopsies, which again didn't hurt and I am waiting for the result to determine the treatment that I get. She told me to cough as she took the biopsies and I think this is why it didn't hurt. I was also advised to take pain relief an hour before and found this to be helpful too.
After the procedure I experienced a couple of days of stomach cramps and a bit of bleeding but I am not afraid at all for the next procedure.
What is important to realise is it is very common and that pre cancerous cells does not mean cancerous!

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LEL87 said on 09 August 2012

I had to have a biopsy taken but didn't have any treatment as they want to wait for the results to come back. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but having the biopsy did hurt a bit.
Can anyone tell me how long you should wait before exercising after having a colposcopy and having a biopsy taken? I was told 2 weeks but have then read that you only need wait a few days. I am really keen to get back in the gym as trying to get in shape for my wedding in September.

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LEL87 said on 09 August 2012

I had to have a biopsy taken but didn't have any treatment as they want to wait for the results to come back. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but having the biopsy did hurt a bit.
Can anyone tell me how long you should wait before exercising after having a colposcopy and having a biopsy taken? I was told 2 weeks but have then read that you only need wait a few days. I am really keen to get back in the gym as trying to get in shape for my wedding in September.

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jasmina82 said on 04 August 2012

It wasn't as bad as I was dreading it to be!

Ok girls... so I have a really low pain threshold and a super sensitive cervix. After reading some of the horror stories online, I was gearing up to some really awful experience, but it wasnt too bad.

I was referred to Gynae after my initial borderline smear had progressed onto mild dyskaryosis. I had no other symptoms. I have to say that the nurse and colposcopist maintained my dignity at all times and were willing to answer all of my questions. I went in there expecting to be told that I would need a biopsy, but it turned out that my abnormal smears were caused by HPV and nothing else.

The procedure itself is a longer version of a smear. A smaller speculum was needed for me as my cervix was really far back and kept moving (yes, it moves!!!). The nurse very kindly held my hand and helped me with my breathing technique. Prior to going to Gynae, I took a diazepam tablet and also an anti inflammatory. This may have helped.

When the colposcopist located my cervix, she painted on some vinegar which stung a bit. The vinegar remained white and there were no dark patches. She then repeated the procedure using Iodine. The iodine remained dark and there were no white patches.

A couple of swabs were taken to test for infection, but the colposcopist was very thorough and told me that my abnormal smears were due to the HPV virus, which 90% of the adult population is exposed to at some point. Also due to my awkwardly positioned super sensitive cervix, my future 6-monthly smears will be at the Gynae office.

After my positive experience, I am happy to go back there.

I had very slight PMT style cramping for half a day. I experience no bleeding.

15 mins of discomfort is worth it. The discomfort eases as the vaginal passage stretches, just like when you have a smear test.

Good luck ladies, honestly it isnt too bad xxx

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GirlDrake said on 25 July 2012

Fine! Fine! Fine! - Did not hurt at all.

I had mine this morning and was very nervous as I chose to read the negative posts and skimmed over the good ones.

I never recieved my results letter, just the appointment one and my GP claimed to had not recieved any either so I've paniced for the last two weeks. The hospital was outraged that I was in the dark for that long and claimed the GP should know and be able to disclose my smear results.

Listen to music: I'd read on the internet that listening to music helps so I chose the most offensive gangsta song on my playlist to distract me and it did help to have something familiar and comforting.

Relax: From the comments above, each person seems to react differently. But I made such an effort to relax completely and that is imperative.

Colposcopy: After a smear, you are familiar with the feeling so it wasn't as weird as a first smear. They are in there for a little bit longer. I would say about 2 minutes. I asked a nurse to hold my heand and covered my eyes. But it felt much less uncomfortable than my first smear.

Biopsy - The doctor asked me to cough. Didn't feel anything. He then said he would take the biopsy and i felt little less than a poke with something. Again, pain free. Please do not worry if they take a biopsy, it's more a 'whilst we're there, we may as well' kind of procedure.

Then it was over. I have been informed I could bleed or spot but am yet to experience those symptoms, even straight after. What I did get ws period pain which is numbed by two paracetemol.

Turns out I have mild cell changes and will need to go back in six months, pending biopsy results. I feel a million times more assured and couldn't be happier with the whole procedings.

Please do not panic. And please relax. I have a feeling that is what makes a successful and easy colposcopy.

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katiekn said on 19 July 2012

I had my second colposcopy today after the last one showed abnormal cell. This one was unchanged so I had to have treatment. The colposcopy wasn't too bad- it's a bit undignified and quite uncomfortable. I had LLETZ which only took a couple of minutes. It didn't really hurt but I got very distressed and shaky. The nurse said that sometimes the local anaesthetic can make you feel that way. I also had a biopsy which I found quite painful.I've been told I'll probably need to wear a pad for 2-3 weeks. It was a bit sore after the local wore off. The Dr said I would get the results of the biopsy in about a week, and hopefully it will just mean going for a regular smear in 6 months. All in all it was unpleasant and quite upsetting, but obviously well worth it as these procedures are supposed to be really effective.

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Claire2012 said on 06 July 2012

Hello all,

I have read a lot of comments and am looking for anyone who has had a similar experience to me.

My colposcopy, treatment and biopsy for CIN3 was fine. Not the nicest thing but docs were lovely and made me feel at ease.

However, I had light bleeding for 12 days after but was warned of this. On the 13th day (unlucky I know) I had uncontrollable bleeding and ended up in A&E. They tried to stop the bleeding but didn't manage to. It just kept gushing out. I couldn't move at all.

I spent the night with uncontrollable bleeding in hospital having to be changed every half an hour as the blood had soaked the bed. They had to put a catheter in.

Next morning I had an operation on my cervix due to acute bleeding. This was under general anaesthetic. I was able to go home about 5 hours later and the bleeding has stopped.

Has anyone else had this happen to me? It was pretty horrific but all happened so quickly. I am now resting at home having been given one weeks sick note but I just feel confused. Why did this happen to me? They told me they managed to remove all of the CIN3 at the colposcopy two weeks before so I am glad I no longer have ore-cancerous changes but just want to know what on earth happened to me?

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cgm86 said on 05 July 2012

I would like to add a positive comment on colposcopy here, as despite being a very rational person usually, I was scared to death by reading various comments in the run up to my appointment. I am only 26 and had 2 abnormal smears (both mild) and was referred for colposcopy. No one finds these things enjoyable, however I felt it was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. The worst part of the whole thing was being in the waiting room with someone who had come out crying and making a fuss about it!

The nurses were very kind, and the process was not even that undignified as you are very covered up. I had three or four biopsy samples taken and this was much less painful than, for example, giving blood. Overall, it is something that everyone will naturally worry about, but definitely go and get it done without hesitation. I now have more waiting, for biopsy results, but even if I need loop diathermy I will be much more relaxed about going back. Another tip is that you are quite within your rights to ask before the appointment to see a lady practitioner; I saw a nurse specialist, as opposed to the male consultant and felt much better as a result.

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adele38 said on 14 June 2012

I had my colposcopy done there in Tuesday. And the doctor said to me that mine was CIN 3 which was severe changes. I have never missed having a smear test done and that was the first time my results came back with abnormal cells found :(
It wasn't a painful procedure at all, a little uncomfortable that's all. They were talking to me the whole time and explaining everything they were doing. I certainly didn't feel undignified as i had a gown on and its no different to giving birth as far as am concerned. At the end of the day your just a patient to them and there's nothing to be embarrassed about. Am just waiting on my results coming back and that's going to take up to 4 to 6 not good at waiting. So ladies everyone will have a different experience when they go for there colposcopy but if it helps save your life that's all that counts.

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cross40 said on 03 June 2012

Hi I found the colposcopy very similiar to smear test no problem at all the biopsies were abit nippy but felt similiar to period pains and when I had cold coagulation treatment it was no problem and over and done with in about 10 minutes. Yes I was worried about it all but you wouldn't be human if you didn't.

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gwen22 said on 17 May 2012

I have had a colposcopy on a 6 monthly basis for the last years. I find the whole procedure very stressful and undignified. I am usually prescribed something to help me deal with the situation and up until the last time I saw a wonderful female nurse, who really tried to be gentle and reassuring, even though the procedure was still awful. It is written in my notes that I get extremely anxious about the procedure.
I was therefore absolutely horrified in December 2011 (3 months after giving birth to my first baby) to not only be kept waiting 45 minutes for my appointment - when I was first in line (!) - but to have a male consultant do the procedure who was very cold towards me and made me feel completely violated. The procedure hurt terribly and I am ashamed to say I cried my eyes out.
It was so bad that I considered not returning to my next appointment scheduled for June 2012 but I knew I had to ensure I was healthy for my son's sake.
So I have called the hospital and told them how awful my last experience was and they have ensured me I will see the female nurse next time.
This procedure is so undignified and uncomfortable or painful for a woman, depending on who does it that I just can't understand why a male consultant would do it with absolutely no empathy or bedside manner. I see on the tv that colonoscopy's are down with a local anesthetic - is this not a good idea for a colposcopy also?

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kirstiekv84 said on 11 April 2012

I had an abnormal smear result when I was 18, I had to go for a repeat smear but still came back abnormal so I was sent for a colposcopy where I had a biopsy taken and the abnormal cells were 'burned' off. I'm not going to lie, it was agony and I passed out during it but it was worth it. That was 10 years ago now. I now have to go for a smear every year rather than every 3 years. I have not had any more abnormal smear results (touch wood)

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kirstiekv84 said on 11 April 2012

I had an 'abnormal' smear result when I was 18. I got a repeat smear and still the same so was sent for a colposcopy where I then had a biopsy taken and the abnormal cells 'burnt' off. I'm not going to lie, it was agony and I passed out during it but it was well worth it as the doctor said if I never had it done I would have had cervical cancer within 5 years. That was 10 years ago now, I now have to get a smear every year rather than every 3 years but I have not had any more abnormal results (touch wood)

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VictoriaJ said on 03 April 2012

I had my colposcopy today at Wexham Park in Slough. I was so worried about it, I even had a bit of a cry (totally unexpected) when I got there. I think the wait between getting the letter telling me I had abnormal cells (mild) and actually going had made me more anxious than I needed to be. I had no need to be worried, the staff were amazing and the nurse that did my colposcopy was so kind and understanding. She could see slight abnormal cells but said she thought they may get better by themselves. I've got to go back in. 6 months for another smear and then if it's still abnormal, another colposcopy and possibly treatment. Although the thought of treatment is unpleasant, the way I was treated put me at ease and any subsequent visits I make, I'll be as relaxed as I can. I watched the colposcopy on a screen, it was really interesting. I wasn't rushed and was able to ask all the questions I had after. Please don't be worried ladies, it's really not that bad and it could save your life. The way they performed the procedure didn't even feel that undignified either.

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Soyin said on 03 April 2012

Just came back from my colposcopy, my doctor and the nurse was very helpful and reassuring. It just felt like a smear test, no pain and it was over very quickly 5 to10 mins. He saw nothing abnormal thank god and said I should be back in 2 months time for another smear test. My anxiety was the time between the abnormal smear test result until I got to see the doctor, once I saw the doctor I felt much do not panick it's no big deal and having your health checked is most important!Its life saving!

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Bona marona said on 26 March 2012

Ladies, its really no big deal. I had my colposcopy on march 20th, yes i was nervous and yes its undignified with your legs in the air, but it really it was like having a smear only it lasted a little longer, and when the Dr took the biopsys it did nip but a nip was all it was. Then it was over!
My advise is, take someone with you to drive you home, i drove myself 25miles but would have liked to be able to relax. And if you can, take the following day off work, i went to work but wished i was at home with my feet up. If i have to have any additional treatment i will book the next day off and have some pain releif at home ready for the period like pains.
I had a few days of discharge, but nothing a little panty liner couldnt handle.
Really, dont be scared, and dont put it off. No big deal!

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Bona marona said on 26 March 2012

Ladies, I had my colposcopy on 20th march 2012, really it was no big deal. Yes i was nervous, and yes its undignified, but it was like having a smear only it lasted a bit longer, and yes it did nip when they took the biopsys but thats all it was, a nip. My only advise, is take someone with you, i had a 30 min drive home and would have liked to relaxed, and take the following day off work, im a prison officer so have quite an active job,and every step i took hurt, really i should have stayed at home. Have some ibuprofenand paracetamol in the cupbord for the pain, it was like a period pain, but had i been on the sofa and not at work it would have been heaps better.
Yucky discharge for 5 days, but light, just a little panty liner works.
Just waiting for the results now and whatever needs to be done i'll have done, its all about catching illnesses early, life saving in some cases. Dont put it off. Really, not that bad! I promise. X

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katie1977 said on 13 March 2012

I received a letter on Friday, it said 'abnormal' no more than that. I got it when I came in form work. NHS direct was backed up, surgeries were closed, there was no-one to talk to at all. Ended up at A&E with an emergency appointment where I was given anxiety pills and nothing else.

Rang my doctors Monday morning after an horrific weekend, I really need to see the same doctor so I don't have to go through my back history with yet another person, was told I'd have to wait a week.

I feel utterly alone.

With a history of rape, clinical depression and multiple miscarriages I find it hard to put into words how completely terrified I am of this test, and no amount of reassurance from others who've had it will help. I simply cannot put myself through it mentally and I desperately need to find out if I can be given a general anaesthetic, epidural or sedation to get me through it. Having a simple smear affects my mental health for weeks, this will usher me into a complete breakdown.

Is there a structure in place which provides people like me with extra support and guidance? Is it possible to be given something to make me unaware of what is going on?

I can't sleep, I'm having palpitations, my thoughts are black, I'm crying all of the time, my work, which usually keeps me going is becoming a burden.

Surely someone can help me.

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laura38 said on 12 March 2012

I was wondering if anyone help me on here. I receviced a letter saying my smear result was mild dyskaryosis. and i need a colposcopy. How long do i have to wait for a appointment my doctor not given me much information . Please any information would help thankyou .

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Rachel64 said on 04 March 2012

I thought I should leave a comment on here as I had a colposcopy examination last week and it wasn’t that bad, I know everybody’s experiences are different depending what they have done. I'm 26 had my first smear 1.5 years ago and its came back as "borderline" changes, my second smear taken 6 months later was also "borderline", I then had another one 6 months later (which was Jan 2012) and this came back as “mild dyskaryosis” so they invited me in for a colposcopy at the hospital. I received my smear results and the invite for the colposcopy examination very quickly; it was one week after my smear. My colposcopy was exactly 4 weeks after I had my smear. On the day I went to the hospital and was called in on-time, the nurse who performed the procedure was very nice; she took the time beforehand to explain everything and asked me whether I had any questions. She advised me that she would take a close look at my cervix to see if there were any abnormal cells, if there were then she might take a biopsy. The procedure was very similar to having a smear, except your legs are in stirrups. She started by taking three swabs (for chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and thrush). She then put the vinegar solution on my cervix which didn’t burn as such it just felt a little bit warm and tingly. She told me that she couldn’t see any abnormal cells and that there was no need to take a biopsy, which was good news! The examination was then complete. The whole thing took about 15 mins, I then returned to work afterwards and felt fine. I appreciate that I was very lucky as I didn’t have to have a biopsy taken or any treatment but I just wanted to let people know that just because your smear has shown some abnormalities and you have been called for a colposcopy it doesn’t mean you will have to have any treatment. I read a lot of the comments on here before I went and did panic but all in all my experience was fine.

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User649019 said on 25 February 2012

A couple of thoughts on my first colposcopy.

It was not as painful as I had expected but it was as embarrassing. I beld a little for two days afterwards.

The clinic assumed their own nurse chaperone was suitable and never mentioned any option that I could have brought my sister or a friend to be with me throughout. I mentioned this at the end of the procedure after I shed some tears (caused by anxiety rather than pain) and was met with some surprise. Perhaps everyone else is simply happy with a medical professional as a chaperone. It was never mentioned on my appointment letter or by my GP.

The clinic appears very busy and there was not much time to sit down and share my concerns and fears.

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Lucieloo said on 24 February 2012

Hello, I'm 25 and after my first smear the results came back abnormal and I was called for a colposcopy.

I had my colposcopy yesterday and after a five week wait for my appointment and having read everything I could find and scared myself silly I was absolutely terrified!

I wanted to add to this thread to put some minds at ease if I can.
The colposcopy was not that bad!
Obviously everyone's experiences are different but I have to say it was so much better than I expected.
I won't go into the procedure too much as it is exactly what many different sites describe. The injection into the cervix was the bit I was dreading but I would describe it as uncomfortable not painful. The puncture biopsy I didn't even feel. My results will take 6 weeks but apparently things 'looked' okay.

If I could give anyone some advice when they recieve the colposcopy letter it would be...

Ring your GP and ask for more information. I wish I had done this as it would have put my mind at rest. The Nurse who did the procedure explained that the GP can give you more info before you attend, which may avoid you walking in and bursting into tears (Ooops!)

Also, be wary of what you read on the internet as everyone has a different experience and while some are negative lots are not!

Today I have a little spotting and am a bit tender (kind of like period pain) but so relieved that its all over and feel a little silly for working myself up into such a state.

I hope this helps any of you that are panicking and good luck with your procedure! x

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lucylucy81 said on 10 February 2012

following a colposcopy in November I was called back for a loop biopsy yesterday as I CIN3, and after 2 nights of worrying before it was done it wasn't as bad as I thought. Obviously its not very pleasant but touch wood so far I haven't bled. Just a lot of tummy pain, like really bad period pain. All I want is bath, but unfortunately this can't be done for 4-6 weeks (amongst other things!) I would definately advise to take someone with you because the adrenalin left me quite shakey, but the nurses were really nice and informed me of everything that was going on at kept me at ease. They made me a cup of tea after and let me sit in the recovery room until I was feeling ready to go. All I have to do now is wait 8 weeks for the result!

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JoJoCS said on 04 February 2012

I am 38 and mum to 2 boys, I had a colposcopy, loop treatment and 2 biopsies taken 3 weeks ago. I didnt sleep the night before and was extremly anxious about it. The colposcopy, treatment and biopsies were a little uncomfortable and painless. The local anaesthetic was quite frightening because the adrenaline in it gives you a faster heart rate and the shakes but that didnt last very long and the nurse was very supportive. Everything was explained clearly as it happened and the staff did their best to reassure me. It was not a nice experience at all but who would expect it to be? I felt a bit rotten and sore for 2 or three days and had a bloody discharge and tender tummy. 3 weeks later i am fine. I had my results yesterday and it turns out i had cancer on my cervix, they removed it all during the colposcopy and i will be absolutely fine. My honest opinion is it IS an unpleasant experience, take someone with you for support if you can, take a couple of days off work if you can, but for goodness sake GO. If i hadnt gone I dont expect I'd be here in 10 years time and i am so grateful.

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BeccaL said on 24 January 2012

I felt compelled to comment on this page as many of the stories seem to be horror stories. I had an abnormal smear result after my first smear test and was invited for a colposcopy. The procedure was uncomfortable but not painful, although I did bleed for a few days afterwards. The doctor and nurse were really reassuring. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer and while the colposcopy isn't a great thing to have done it is an essential procedure to check on abnormal cells.

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LH86 said on 16 January 2012

Staff at LRI were great however pain of Loop procedure I definitely wasnt told about beforehand! Had to have 8-10 injections as anaesthetic didnt work so i felt everything and I am still in agony and bleeding 5 days after although I dont feel my symptoms indicate an infection I think I am just one of the unlucky ones and i admittedly did have to have a lot removed. Im only just mobile again and everything seems to take twice as long at the mo. dreading seeing what state ive been left in down there when ive healed properly! and really hope i dont ever have to have this done again - roll on my results in 4 weeks time!

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sarahc33 said on 15 January 2012

I received a borderline smear result the day after my mothers funeral in November. I was dreading my colposcopy appointment which was on 25th November 2011 and was a nervous wreak when the day actually came and was suffering from extreme anxiety and depression. The nurse was kind and tried to reassure me , but i found the doctor extremely unsympathetic. When he walked into the treatment room and saw the distressed state i was in, he shook his head. I was told that i had mild cell abnormalities and he took a biopsy. I found the biopsy procedure like a very sharp pain with some mild cramping and wasn't offered any pain relief but it was tolerable. I waited 7 long weeks over christmas and new year and after phoning to chase up my results last week, i was told that the biopsy was too small!!! I have been asked to return next week to repeat the whole examination again. I am disgusted. I would also like to add that the literature that is sent out is extremely vague and misleading. I'm not as distressed about going this time, but i will certainly put my point across regarding the long wait and misleading info and asking for my biopsy to be pushed through histology faster.

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sarahc33 said on 15 January 2012

I received a borderline smear result the day after my mothers funeral in November. I was dreading my colposcopy appointment which was on 25th November 2011 and was a nervous wreak when the day actually came and was suffering from extreme anxiety and depression. The nurse was kind and tried to reassure me , but i found the doctor extremely unsympathetic. When he walked into the treatment room and saw the distressed state i was in, he shook his head. I was told that i had mild cell abnormalities and he took a biopsy. I found the biopsy procedure like a very sharp pain with some mild cramping and wasn't offered any pain relief but it was tolerable. I waited 7 long weeks over christmas and new year and after phoning to chase up my results last week, i was told that the biopsy was too small!!! I have been asked to return next week to repeat the whole examination again. I am disgusted. I would also like to add that the literature that is sent out is extremely vague and misleading. I'm not as distressed about going this time, but i will certainly put my point across regarding the long wait and misleading info and asking for my biopsy to be pushed through histology faster.

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VC1982 said on 08 December 2011

I went for my colposcopy this morning and have to admit I was dreading it. There was no need. The doctor and nurse were lovely and put me at ease. Yes, it is a little uncomfortable but I've had more painful smear tests.

The doctor took 2 biopsies which just felt like small scrapes. I did bleed a little and I've had a slight crampy feel since but nothing bad.

This procedure was quick, relatively painless and I wouldn't put off having it done again (not that I want it done again!!)

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brevity said on 29 November 2011

I had a punch biopsy a week ago. The doctor and nurse were lovely. The procedure was quick, but I did find it painful - like really bad period pain - but this eased off over the next hour or so. I had very slight bleeding and then a very light and yellowish discharge - I called the specialist nurse at the hospital and she said it was part of the healing process, which was reassuring. I have had no pain except on orgasm - and not much pain then (I haven't had pentrative sex, as she advised to wait 1-2 weeks).

Now I'm waiting for the results. It's worrying because there's absolutely no way to judge at all till I get that letter.

Having read other comments here, I do think that the info leaflets do downplay the pain and discomfort somewhat. I think there's no way of knowing how much it will hurt till you go through it and find out. But I wouldn't have cared even if the pain had been a lot worse. This had to be done, there was no question about that. This is something that cannot be ignored. My feeling now is that they downplay the pain of it on those leaflets, to stop women thinking. Oh it'll hurt, and I don't feel ill, so I'll leave it.

I did do a lot of net research. That was very helpful.

I just wish there was some wy to hurry those results.

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Orpington said on 12 November 2011

Had a colposcopy and 2 biopsies taken yesterday and I have to say how easy it was. I am sorry to hear some people have had a bad experience but don't let that frighten you as I can promise you that was not the case for me. Before going in the nurse explained everything in great detail. All the nurses and the doctor were really nice and reassuring. I really have had worse smears than this. The proceedure was quick and the biopsies were not sharp pain like I expected. just a little dull tug followed by a little period pain (mild). Only had cramps like period pain today not enough to stop me going shopping! Most painful bit is not being allowed to excercise for a week! Don't worry it is honestly not that bad an experience at all.

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pcmillsie said on 12 November 2011

I had to post this comment in order to vent...!I have just had a colposcopy and biopsy after getting a moderate abnormal smear result. I read all the leaflets before i went but didn't look online because the literature kept stating what a minor procedure it was and nothing to worry about....WHAT A LIE THAT WAS!! I have been in agony ever since, I have not had children but did suffer a miscarriage 4 years ago and the pain is similar to that. I think it is disgusting that the hospital or literature does not warn women that they may react badly. I have also had to take time off work and it has cost me £22 for painkillers and antibiotics (in case I have an infection, my gp didnt even want to examine me)...when I tried to ring the clinic for advice they weren't even open and I was told to go to my gp. I think the nhs does a great job in many respects and obviously it is good that they are testing women early to prevent cervical cancer developing HOWEVER this procedure has put me off going back even if they say I need treatment. The misinformation is dangerous, I cannot believe they say the biopsy can be carried out on pregnant women - If I had been pregnant there is no doubt I would have miscarried with the amount of cramps I have had since the procedure. If only I had been warned I could have been prepared and not so scared. It has also made me feel very emotional, I am 41 and unlikely now to have any children, to be honest I feel so sore that I can't imagine ever having sex again and I can't believe it hasn't affected any fertility I might have left!!

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cherylw said on 26 October 2011

I can't tell you how brilliant it has been to read all these comments. I have been feeling so alone with my situation and so worried as as some of you say the information is very confusing. I am 46 and a mother of a 20 year old. I have almost never had a normal smear , I think maybe 2 in my life. They used to leave you to have 3 abnormal smears before you were sent for colposcopy but now I think they react more quickly. 3 years ago I wnt for a colposcopy and they took a biopsy without asking me or telling me. I was in agony afterwards and had 3 weeks off work.. after being told I could work the next day! It was awful and was very angry and felt they should have asked me or at least warned me. They said I had CIN 1 at that time but then after another smear it was CIN 2 so had had to go again. This time I was prepared and told the nurses about all my pain and upset and they were nicer to me. The colposcopy showed CIN 3 so they said I should be treated . I asked to come back another time as I was expecting to feel really bad and needed to book the time off work. I had diathermy loop treatment and was told that after this treatment most women have no abnormalities ever again. So I thought just do it get it out of the way and then that will be an end to it! It was not actually too bad though I cried all the way through. I beld a=fvor about 3 weeks and had alot of cramps.I then was put on 3 monthly smears, the first was normal ( hooray!) the last one was CIN3 again! I am in despair.. I now have to go again and feel so let down and confused. Again there is no info as to why it has come back. I dont drink or smoke I eat well, exercise and consider myself careful. I am beginning to think abnormal is normal for me. I am really scared now that is has come back again.. I feel very out of control. Apparently, taking folic acid, B vitamins and zinc can really help.. so I am doing that. My appt is next week.. I am really dreading it.

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VixStar said on 08 February 2011

Hi Ladies. Just sticking my oar in as well in praise of this procedure. I'm 25 with 1 child. After having my first smear at the end of December, I was found to have CIN 1. I had my colposcopy today. I was fairly scared but it really is virtually painless. I had to have a biopsy taken so had a local anaesthetic via injection to the cervix - it was a small scratch like scratching skin with fingernails - and had the biopsies taken which I'll admit were uncomfortable. They caused no pain but a very weird tugging sensation. I'll get my results in 4 weeks maximum. Depending on results, I may need further treatment but the colposcopy itself, local injection and biopsy are really ok. Please feel re-assured. I can feel a slight soreness and am spotting very lightly. It really isn't as bad as some horror stories make out.

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Kate15 said on 01 February 2011

I want to share my experience because before my Colposcopy a lot of information that I read of the internet caused more worry than good. As a 19 year old, I also felt like the other comments came from older women and wanted to hear from someone my own age.

I couldn't have asked for a better medical experience. It was daunting at first but my consultant and the nurse practitioners present did everything to make me feel at ease. I had researched the procedure a lot and knew what to expect and therefore was able to ask the right questions.

I didn't need to have any biopsies taken (not everyone does), and the scan and speculum exam caused me nearly no discomfort. Please note you can ask for a small speculum to be used if youve found them painful before! Don't be scared to ask for anything.

I don't know what I was worrying about before I went in. I was even able to enjoy looking at the scans and images of my womb and cervix. Thankyou so much to the team and Hinchingbrooke.

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ablazevixen said on 28 January 2011

I feel I really must add my experience to the mix here because this is a big deal for women about to undergo a colposcopy and fearmongering experiences really don't help.

I was diagnosed with CIN 3 Im 27no kids, non smoker, non drinker. I was really surprised, I didnt get much time to register it as 2 days later the hospital rang me to book a colposcopy for the next day. I was really nervous and terrified at the thought of needles and Leep procedure.

I went in and my GYN told me they would be performing a Leep procedure after looking at my cervix. I was horrified but they were lovely. I had my own nurse to hold my hand. The colposcopy and the acid wash on my cervix was barely noticable, certainly it was uncomfortable but no more than a normal smear.

He told me they were doing a Leep while I was there and I was really scared but it was so matter of fact and the nurses were chatting to me that I didnt get time to feel jittery. I couldnt see any implements which really was for the best but all I felt was a sting. and not even a big sting just a little one and after that it just felt like the speculum was being moved. That was it!

I promise ladies its no big deal, I can put my hand on my heart and say I've had more painful smear tests from over enthusiastic nurses. It was really ok and I feel so proud of myself for doing it and getting it over with. The clinic told me 6 women had cancelled that day I dont know if it was fear or busy schedules but if any of you are putting it off, it is really ok.

Prior to the procedure ive just had a bit of bleeding, nothing major, pain wise its nothing that outweighs period pain 2 paracetamol will normally take care of it. Please dont put it off girls. You'll be ok, its nowhere near as bad as you think!


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zoefb said on 16 December 2010

I was just wondering if anyone could tell me how long it is OK to wait from hearing you have CIN1 cells to having the colposcopy? It feels like I've waited ages and have been away with work and then struggled to get appointment and now am not having procedure until January which will be about 8 weeks from diagnosis via PAP. How fast can things become more serious?

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zoefb said on 16 December 2010

I was just wondering if anyone could tell me how long it is OK to wait from hearing you have CIN1 cells to having the colposcopy? It feels like I've waited ages and have been away with work and then struggled to get appointment and now am not having procedure until January which will be about 8 weeks from diagnosis via PAP. How fast can things become more serious?

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mouse10 said on 25 October 2010

I am only 23 and had an abnormal smear, I got sent for a colposcopy and from that I had a letter telling me there is an area of abnormal skin and suggest I have LLETZ treatment. I have been told nothing about it except a leaflet that was next to useless.
I got told hardly anything at my colposcopy and now dread going back. I have been putting it off because I am exceptionally uncomfortable with a certain doctor doing this but seem to get a very rude receptionist whenever I phone up, so I'm not sure what to do.
The nurses were fine but I still felt very uninformed about what was actually happening.
I was in a lot of pain following the colposcopy but they didn't even tell me I might be or that I would bleed!

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positive feedback said on 03 September 2010

I wanted to let everyone out there who is worrying about LEEP treatement my positive experience
I had a cloposcopy in july and they did a punch biopsy and it came back that I had abnormalities which are severe CIN111 I could not be treated due to flying abroad for my holidays 2wks later.
today I have had the treatement after months of worry and anxiety I went to my doctors as I suffer from panic attacks and had worked myself into a frenzy over the treatment. he prescribed me a diazepam to take whihc made my nervousness and anxiety pass and after leaving the hospital at 1.00 today I have a tummy ache but the whole procedure was quick, painless and the staff were fantastic, a nurse held my hand and talked to me thru the whole procedure whihc calmed me down and before I knew it the time had passed and it was over, the most painful part was having the sticky label removed from my thigh that keeps you earthed like having a big plaster pulled off haha couldnt belive it. so for all those horrid ordeals you have read, as just like I did, sat on the interent reading of all these awful terrible horror stories please remember ok it doesnt always go as its planned for some people BUT generally the staff are there to support you and hopefully get you better by doing this. I cannot believe how much I worked myself up for months when it was totally pain free and quick. I am going to have a restfull wknd in my jammies to recover. hope this helps anyone out there who is dreading there LEEP or colposcopy as all went well and fine for me. take care all and keep in good health, look after yourself and if your worried go to your doctors for advice and somethink to calm your nerves as its so not worth the worry and anxiety I put myself under x

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traybay123 said on 19 August 2010

hi to everyone, iv got a question to lottacarey pls id like to know what hospital you went to to have the anesthetic as a spray on and would you know the name off it pls the reason is iv had two biopsys now and have to have the op and very scared of the thought of the injection, i phoned the doctor today who will be doing the op to ask about it and she said she has never heard of it so more scared now but siad if you can help with info she will look into it for me, my op is nxt wk now, both biopsys went ok didnt feel any pain just slight discomfort and the nurse and staff was really good so im sorry to hear any bad experiances people had, so if lottacarey could help i would apreciate it thanx.

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Fairy26 said on 24 July 2010

I wanted to share my experience as I have just had to go for my 1st colposcopy and have been a nervous wreck. I was extremely scared as have always had normal smear results up until now and all I got in the post was a letter saying I had been referred to the hospital for a colposcopy and the leaflet.
Like others I didn't find the leaflet particularly helpful but I had a look at this page and certainly got more info from here (even though I was concerned by the bad experiences that others had had).

I went for my colposcopy 2 days and so far have been really pleased with the consultant and nurses at St Johns Hospital in Chelmsford. I told them I was really nervous and the consultant took time to explain the procedure to me and engage me in general conversation to try and relax me.
The colposcopy itself was over fairly quickly and although I experienced some stomach cramps (like period pains) and discomfort the nurses explained that this was normal and that I should expect some bleeding. Considering there was the consultant and 3 nurses in the room as well they were very good at keeping me chatting and keeping me calm but not making me feel too undignified.

I am now waiting for the results of the biopsy and although its a 4-6 week wait for the results I feel calmer now than I did in the week between receiving the letter and going for the appointment. I can only put this down to the information that I have been given by the hospital as I know what the next steps are if I get called for treatment and I have a number to call if I have any concerns.

Although its true that sometimes we can know too much, I definitely feel that information was the key for me as the procedure was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting and at least I know what happens next if I do get called back for treatment.

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suzi83 said on 25 June 2010

I have been for a loop biopsy today and want to let ladies know about more positive experiences. I fully understand others have had bad experiences and that is really unfortunate, however when looking for information reading alot on this page terrified me. My experience today although not the best way to spend my morning, has been fine. The nurses were lovely, explained everything, even when I felt panicky from the anesthetic-which is normal. I left feeling informed, dignified and my concerns adhered to. I am so pleased I had went as my levels had increased from CIN 1 upto 3 between my smear and punch biopsy. Yes I am a little sore this evening but that is to be expected. Hope this helps other who are going through the same procedure. It really wasnt as bad as I had thought it would be and I am rubbish at pain!!!

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Lottacarey said on 14 June 2010

I recently had a colposcopy. I recieved some NHS info leaflets before the appointment. They said that any treatment I had would be done under local anesthetic, but I was really anxious as an injection in that area would surely be incredibly painful in itself. At the appointment the doctor told me that the anesthetic would be SPRAYED ON and not injected! I was so relieved. Why didn't the leaflets tell me this? I wouldn't have been so stressed and tense! The anesthetic worked really well. I told the doctor that I'd had an IUD/coil fitted without anesthetic and it was agony so he gave me two lots of the anesthetic.The colposcopy, biopsy and treatment were uncomfortable but only slighlty painful. So much better than I thought it would be.

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KS22 said on 07 June 2010

After attending my first cervical screening (aged 25) at my GPs I was phoned by my local hospital and asked to attend a colposcopy in 2 days time. As this was my first experience of anything like this I was apprehensive. I was sent a copy of the NHS leaflet which I found informative and also came online to read more. After visiting this page and reading others accounts I was increasingly worried about the procedure. On the day my mum went with me for moral support (it was nice to have someone I knew with me). As soon as I got to the appontment the staff were brilliant. Everyone from the receptionist to the nurses were lovely. The Dr I saw was very polite and took time to answer my questions. During the procedure there were also 2 nurses present who were very friendly and put my mind at rest, both explaining what was happening as well as making general chit chat. I did have to have three punch biopsies taken which were a little uncomfortable (and were for a couple of days after) and of which i'm not awaiting the results. I'm sorry to read some people have had bad experiences but I just wanted to post this to put peoples minds at rest if they are about to have their first appointment.

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lisa2403 said on 10 May 2010

i totally agree with lisa1216's experience of the whole colposcopy thing, i was given anathestic but still experienced pain and burning from the laser loop machine. i had phoned the hospital the a couple of days before my procudre as i was concerned (my mum has had a hysterectamy at 45 because of what i now know i had) and was told that maybe i could consider bringing somebody to drive me home after in case anything was carried out.
i then suffered what i believe was a panic attack and came very close to fainting. i am concerned as i am now bleeding alot (i am on a pill where i have never bled before and my procedure was on the 29/12)
i believe the information that i was given was incorrect and misleading, i will just point out that i am ex army, give blood regularly, and have tattoo's so i am not scared of a few needles and have a fairly high pain threshold!
whilst i agree that a colposcopy experience will vary from woman to woman (like childbirth, i have one child) i think the nurses (woman themselves) could at least be a little bit more sympathetic and helpfull, I WAS COMPLETLEY FREAKED OUT

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Laura C said on 27 March 2010

Hi gem1jess, All this sounds very frustrating. You havent put what your results have said though. Do they just say abnormal or do they come back with CIN? If you are really having trouble with y our service speak to them and find out exactly what is going on. It can be like getting blood out of a stone getting straight answers from some of these consultants but it is worth a go. If you still have no luck and are not happy with your care contact your local PALS service. Your GP will have their number. They deal with initial complaints and act on your behalf.
Hope that helps!!

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gem1jess said on 25 March 2010

Hi - I have ad abnormal smears & colpocopys since 2007 (every 6 mths!)...I also had abnormal smears in my late 20's (now 40). In jan 2008 I had a baby & and another in dec 2008. In sept last year I had another abnormal & was told if my next 1 was not normal they would treat it. 5th march this year I had another & it has still come back not have to have another on the 31st. I am soo sick of this & the worry...I have 4 children & feel that it is just being passed off...I think 3 yrs is enough!!! Any advice?

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gem1jess said on 25 March 2010

Hi - I am totally fed up with this....I had abnormal smears in my late 20's (am now 40) since 2007 I have had repeated abnormal smears & colposcopys. In Jan 2008 I had & baby & another in Dec 2008...all the way through I have been told it is maybe my hormones & due to pregnancy. In sept 2009 I had another colposcopy & it returned abnormal....after ringing the nurse (she spoke to the consultant) & they said that if my next result was abnormal they would treat it. 3 weeks ago I had a repeat examination & it has come back abnormal again & I have to go again next week for a repeat!!! This has been going on for 3 years.....yet all they do is keep giving me colposcopys.....I am a mum to 4 children & now starting to get concerned!!! Any advice please????

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Laura C said on 09 March 2010

Wow! All these recent posts really go to prove the difference a good Doctor and Hospital make! My own experience was not great the first time but I made a complaint and I stuck at it and got transfered! It was the best thing I ever did! My Doctor now is fantastic! And I have no fear of going back! After my first appointment I had panic attacks and was in a real state! If you ladies who have had problems contact your local PALS (you should be able to find the number on here or ring your GP for it) and get transfered and make your feelings known, esspecially the police officer (that sounds more like assult than an exam as they should always stop it you need them to) then it should get resolved and your next appointment should be better. Don't let a bad or horrific experience force you to put your own health at risk! No doctor is worth that!!

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hilda123 said on 19 January 2010

I have just had a colposcopy today after being told I have moderate dyskaryosis. The procedure was uncomfortable but not painful. The doctor said I had a slightly larger abnormal area than expected (about the size of a 10p coin) so carried out a procedure called cold coagulation. This involved him giving me a local anaesthetic and then burning the abnormal cells away. It wasn't as painful as it sounds though, its just slightly achey now

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Jqwl said on 07 January 2010

I had a colposcopy exam this morning at St John's Hospital in Chelmsford and would like to praise the doctor and nurses. They were very attentive, sympathetic and respectful. I felt totally at ease throughout the exam. The doctor explained the procedure and they made sure I was confortable at all times. I felt no pain at all in the examination or biopsy, and have had no bleeding since. I felt absolutely normal after the exam. The doctor showed me the instant results from the exam and I am told I should receive the results of the biopsy in 6 weeks time. I was given a number to ring in case I have any questions and now feel much more at ease about the whole thing. I have been told I will need to go for a check up in 6 months time, but even if I do need treatment after getting the results of the biopsy I am now much less worried, as I was told from now on I will always refer to this hospital for any future treatments/check ups and I feel I can rely on receiving very good care from them.

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lisa1216 said on 03 January 2010

i had a colposcopy done and it was the most horrific experience of my life! i was given very little information as to what to expect other than a very old fashioned leaflet which said the procedure should be painless. i went in a little bit nervous and was told not to worry. the doctor was awful and i was in so much pain he really didn't seem to care. it was that bad i actually cried for my mum! which is a little bit embarrassing at 26! i nearly passed out with the pain and had repeated panic attacks and was in excruciating pain but at no point was i offered anaesthetic and he would not stop to give me a few minutes break when i was screaming at him to stop. I am police officer and therefore not exactly soft when it comes to pain but this was horrific! i was not told i could take pain killers prior to the treatment either. i was told i would be fit for work the following morning but due to the pain and lack of mobility because of the procedure i ended up having two weeks off work. i wasn't told i would experience bleeding til just after the procedure and bled for a week and a half and suffered the loss of blood clots also. basically no idea what was going to happen at all! My GP was not well informed either and I feel this needs to change as I was offered no reassurance by either him or the hospital. it was a very traumatic experience and i am terrified of my next course of treatment. I had my result back which were clear of cancer but i would require something called FEMM treatment, again I have been given no information or clue as to what this is other than I may need to be put to sleep when I have it done! as you can imagine this is terrifying again! why is there such a lack of information??? i am now so scared of hospitals which makes my job very hard to do. i really don't want to go back.

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Laura C said on 14 October 2009

I have just had my 6month check up at a different hospital to the one I was at before. As a result of my complaint about the previous hospital my care was transfered and what a difference!
This second hospital was wonderful! They answered all my questions and even though they did exactly the same procedure as I had last time I feel fine! I have light bleeding and had mild discomfort for a few hours afterwards but that is all! I am so pleased with the care I recieved and all the staff were fantastic! I just can't believe the difference it has made both physically and emotionally! It just goes to show the difference a good team can make!

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Debbie H said on 08 October 2009

I received the letter yesterday telling me I had severe dyskaryosis and needed a colposcopy. The leaflets I received were informative in so far as they went but I wanted more. I found the "Jo's Trust" website which is a dedicated site all about cervical cancers, screening, colposcopies etc. It is well written, easy to navigate and very informative. I would recommend it to anyone looking for more info on this topic.

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LoniJoan said on 04 September 2009

I work in private health and the service provided by the NHS is just as caring and compasionate. I have just had the LEEP Loop procedure which comes after the colposcopy and found both to be comfortable. All the attending staff were respectful and provided all the information I required at the time. I personally had enough information about my colopscopy before and after but nothing about the LEEP loop and aftercare... i'm struggling to find anything now!

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kite said on 15 July 2009

I would say that there is not enough information provided here at all,and the information sent should inform you about not having sex before the examination, but maybe it is a good thing not to be given too much detail about the procedure. I think some people don't wish to know every detail about what may happen as it may lead to more anxiety. After reading these comments I went for a colposcopy vey worried and afraid. The experience wasn't as bad as I had been anticipating. There was some discomfort when the biopsies were taken, but no more than period cramps. I found the specialist nurse so comforting and she talked me through every little detail. I was told my results will be posted in 4-5 weeks, then I can have a follow up appointment if I wish. I was given a detailed booklet of do's and don'ts after the procedure and useful numbers should I worry. I was in a specialist womans unit and found the staff helped me feel at ease when having such an intimate procedure. I am sorry that you have had such poor experiences but I was very impressed with the service I recieved from the NHS.

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Laura C said on 27 May 2009

Hello Sooks,
I totally agree with you. It turned out that I was worrying over nothing but even so, they could've said that after the colposcopy. My complaint was not dealt with very well by the clinic. The PALS team and the patient experience team were really good but the nurse I spoke to told me my issues were caused by the fact it is a busy clinic and the doctor is slovakian. Absolute nonsence! I work in an NHS clinic and there is no way we would use that as an excuse! Still we will see what happens in the end.

PALS is the patient advice and liason service. Your local one should have a number that your GP will be able to give to you if you can't find it on here. With regard to aftercare, I don't know what Sooksexperience was but I was in a lot of pain for over 5 days and three of those were spent in bed on painkillers. Your experience may be different but it may be an idea to call the clinic and speak to a nurse.


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dpdp said on 22 May 2009

hi, i have read all your comments. please can you tell me whats PALS is. and whats the aftercare cause i have children to look after.

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Sooks said on 18 May 2009

Thanks, Laura. Hope everything is ok with you. The colposcopy went fine & I ended up having a loop biopsy which I hadn't expected. Again, more information about what may happen would have been very helpful. I hadn't planned for this, and certainly was not prepared for the aftermath and aftercare necessary. Yes, I will contact PALS - it's been unnerving and confusing. NHS need to get this right for women.

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Laura C said on 14 May 2009

Hello Sooks,

I hope your colposcopy went ok. I agree with you about the leaflet. It was very poor. It also didn't say anything about not having sex before a colposcopy but thankfully this did not affect my procedure. I have since been in contact with my local PALS service to tell them how I feel the whole thing was managed. They were really nice and hopefully helpful. Maybe you should concider doing the same?


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Sooks said on 13 May 2009

I am having a colposcopy examination today, and was given a NHS leaflet Cervical Screening: Colposcopy examination with my appointment letter which I read at the time. Only this morning have I looked at this info online and find it gives additional advice to follow in the 24 hours prior to the colposcopy. It states you should avoid: using a tampon, using vaginal creams or pessaries and having sex.
I had also contacted the hospital yesterday, where I am having the examination to discuss the fact that I am currently menstruating (albeit very lightly). The advice given was vague and did not include the info about tampons (or anything else).
I find it astonishing that info given out by the NHS is not consistent. I just hope this will not affect my colposcopy today, especially as I have taken time off work, will have an hour and a half round trip and have a friend accompanying me who has also kindly taken time off and is travelling 60 miles to my home.

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Laura C said on 09 May 2009

Oh my god! This is very missleading indeed! I had a colposcopy and I bled for 5 days afterwards and was left in a lot of pain. I was also not given a consultaion afterwards. All I was told was 'you will got your results in 6 to 8 weeks'. Very informative. This information did not answer any of my questions and I found it wildly inacurate.

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