Borderline Changes & HPV positive: very anxious!!

Hi everyone, 

I feel a bit over-dramatic posting this but I'm not from England originally so I'm new to the NHS system & a bit isolated from my normal support networks!

I'm 25 & just had my first smear since arriving in England, the results have come back saying I have borderline changes and have tested HPV positive. I've had one smear previously that came back normal. The letter also says that I've been approved for a colposcopy and they'll be booking me an appointment in the coming weeks. After some research & reading I understand (well, the logical part of my brain understands) that this is probably fairly routine but I'm still feeling extremely, ridiculously anxious and only have my boyfriend here to reassure me and while he's trying, ultimately he's as much in the dark about the process from here as I am.. And also concerned that he may have the HPV virus now and its effects for the future. 

I noticed on this forum that other users have said their HPV is considered "high risk." Is that information that would have been contained in this preliminary results letter if mine was also high risk? Or is it something that will be clarified further at my colposcopy appointment? Mine just said  "your sample was tested for HPV and you were found to have an infection." I haven't had any symptoms whatsoever so it was a complete shock! Trying to figure out just how panicked to feel... 

Is there anyone with similar experiences who could shed some light on what I can expect next? I'm trying not to worry my family at home and be as prepared with information as possible when I speak to them, we're really close and the distance has been hard on my mum (who is a massive worrier) so I don't want to panic her unnecessarily! 

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated! 

Thank you in advance :) 



Hi Anna, I've been very anxious recently for similar things. I had my smear done about 6 weeks ago, I'm 31 and have had two previous smears done which all came been completely clear, so receiving a letter last Thursday (3rd August) saying I had abnormal results surprised me at first. 

I'm afraid I can be of no help with regards to the HPV virus as my results weren't positive for that, but they were referring me to have a colposcopy as a result of my abnormal cells which were described as high grade (moderate) dyskaryosis. I received a further letter on the Saturday (5th August) stating that they had booked my colposcopy for the coming Wednesday (9th August) so I was a bit shocked/concerned with the promptness of everything (I'm not sure if everyone's is arranged this quickly or not) 

I'm single and don't have many friends or a large family but my mum was able to be there with me, I was so worried about it all, some friends, with best intentions, tried telling me that they knew such a person who had it done and its nothing to worry about... But that if anything just belittled how I was feeling and made my not discuss my worries with anyone. 

As for the appointment itself... The colposcopy on its own, to me, was not much different than a smear I thought, it's just them basically using a magnifying lens with lighting to look more closely at your cervix to check for abnormalities... They swab your cervix with a liquid that basically highlights the abnormal/changed cells... The actual machine doesn't go near your actual ladybits in fact.

It was when she told me that they were going to have to perform LLETZ treatment there and then that panic set in (they had sent me a leaflet with my colposcopy appointment explaining what LLETZ was) they administered a local anaesthetic into my cervix (2 actually) it was this the caused me the most worry at the actual appointment (I'm a type 1 diabetic so you'd think 16 years worth of daily injections would remove any worry of needless for me but alas it didn't) I regressed into an utter child at this point and had to hold my mum's hand whilst I was crying and shaking... Once I was numb they then used a sort of hoop shaped wire on a stick that has an electrical current running through it to remove the affected cells and after about 10 minutes everything was over and done with... Looking back it was nowhere near as painful as I was expecting it to be but I think it's one of those things that, unless you've gone through it yourself, no one can help convince you that it won't hurt. (from experience as a diabetic I know that if you tense up when injecting it hurts a heck of alot more so I kept trying to remind myself that when they were giving me the anaesthetic which might be why I didn't feel much, so the best advice I could give with that is to try your best to relax so the needle doesn't hurt as much, although it's easier said than done I know) 

You may find that during your colposcopy she finds nothing of concern and simply says you can go, she could decide to perform treatment there and then like with me, or they could be on the fence, in which case, they will take a biopsy to send off for analysis before deciding if you need any treatment. 

The major thing that surprised me was the emotional after effects of having my colposcopy and LLETZ treatment... Ive found myself constantly thinking about it and crying and I could not explain to you what I'm actually crying about, after looking on the Internet this does seem to happen to some people but I definitely did not expect it, so maybe ask your partner to be prepared to offer more cuddles and support for a while after the appointment (especially if you do have treatment) 

I'm sorry I can't be of more help with regards to the HPV virus, I can only recommend to either discuss this at your colposcopy appointment, or if your appointment isn't for a while to book an appointment with your doctor to raise the issue with them. 


I do hope this has offered you at least some insight into what does or could happen at your colposcopy appointment and I wish you all the best (im here if you want to ask any follow up questions or simply want to talk) 


Samantha's reply is fab! 

I had my colposcopy yesterday and I agree that it didn't hurt a bit. It is very much like a smear but it just takes a bit longer. I had several biopsies taken which have gone off for testing and I genuinely couldn't feel a thing. The doctor and nurse were so lovely and reasurring during whole thing too. 

Like Samantha however, I was a little taken aback my my emotional response to the procedure. As soon as the doctor left I broke down sobbing and have just been incredibly delicate emotionally since. 

Make sure you look after yourself, have some treats ready in the house for when you get babel after your appointment and give yourself some TLC :)


Hi Anna

Have you had your colposcopy yet?  I was pretty similar to you, borderline changes in my smear & was told to not be concerned a bit but was referred to hospital for colposcopy. I got the appointment quite a few weeks later, & I had to rearrange it because of a booked holiday. It was only when I booked it that the secretary mentioned HPV, I had no idea I even had it!

I had my procedure last Monday, & the consultant told me that although I had tested positive for HPV I didn't have the highest risk strains that most commonly cause CC but that just meant less likely, not impossible!

I felt so low risk that I went to the appointment alone, the Dr chatted to me first and again I got the impression this was very much a formality as there were no red flags. She seemed surprised to see some really bad cells, so I had a biopsy & a Lletz procedure without really knowing the whys and what's at the time. It was uncomfortable I will have to admit, it seemed to go on 4ever, 2 injections to freeze the area and then the cells removed with a wire loop heated by electricity.

Afterwards, I had to get out of there....I didn't ask questions (so cross with myself about that!) but I was very close to breaking, it somehow was a huge emotional trigger. I felt so invaded & upset I cried for a long time. Physically I'm coping ok, pains cramps and bleeding but nothing we ladies cant cope with, but the emotions! That's another story! 

Claire xxx