Chair positioning - pls put my mind at ease (sexual assault mentioned)

I feel a fool posting this but those who have read my earlier thread will know why, and i feel safe asking these questions here, so apologies if you think Im being foolish.

my biggest fear around having my colposcopy exam is not necessarily the procedure it actually getting into the correct position to endure the procedure. I have been told that I will strip from the waist down then I'll sit in a special chair with stirrups and the chair will be tipped back so Im flat on my back - legs up.

I have huge probklems with heart is thumping away now....

If this is TMI click off now......I was raped by a male "friend"..... I was sitting on the arm of the chair chatting to him when he advanced towards me and tipped me back so I was lying on the settee with my legs up.....the rest is history as they say and details are not needed. I have only ever had one flash back from this tipped back experience and that was on a fairground ride......I freaked, completely and utterly freaked. When going to the detist the chair is already tipped back if you like before I lie down...I cant sit there and be lowered down. My dentist knows this.

Please could you tell me how you were positioned for your colposcopy? Im driving my self insane with worry.... Are your legs strapped to the stirrups? Can I get away if I want too?

I feel dreadful most of the time averaging about three hours sleep at night, constanntly bursting into floods of tears and I feel a mess despite having diazepam from the dr. I work as a secondary school teacher...nothing phases me...even the dreaded OFSTED! How come Im falling apart over this???

Ive read through some amazing threads on this site and I think you women here are amazingly strong considering how much you have been through...I guess thats why I feel its lame posting something like this, however youd be helping me out more than you'll ever know x


Hi lily, for my colposcopy I wasnt laid flat. The bed was slightly leaning back and the stirrups were at the end where your bum goes so it was more sitting upright. My legs werent strapped in - there wasnt any straps, they just rested on top of them. Could you speak to the doctor or nurse who do the colposcopys? They might be able to give you more info and if you feel you want to tell them about your past so they can make sure the bed is ok for you? Good luck xx

Hi Lily. Please don't ever feel like a fool for sharing your concerns!  I have read your posts and think you are an extremely brave lady, I was very moved by what you wrote.


When I went for my lletz and both colps, the chair was only slightly inclined. I was given a sheet to hide my modesty, and the nurse and consultant could not have been nicer. They joked around and made me feel at ease. 

I hope this helps a bit xxx

Hi Lily

Everytime i've had treatment ( which is lots) I have been asked to lay on a bed (rather than a chair as such) and my legs gently rested in stirrups and not at all 'fastened in'.

The only movement was the bed raising and lowering to suit the needs of the consultant but none of the times have I been restrained.

Please let the nurses know before you get on the chair, you can usually chat to them whilst walking between the waiting room and procedure room and as a whole, ive found colposcopy nurses fantastic x

Hi Lily,

I will echo what the other ladies have said, the chair was only very slightly inclined so I was very much in the sitting position.  There were no stirrups and I wasn't strapped in.  My feet just rested on a footrest which was part of the chair.  You can bring someone along with you, did you manage to get that arranged as per your last post?

I hope this sets your mind at ease a bit.  Good luck xx



thanks for your replies - when you say the chair was slightly inclined did you sit in it then they inclined it or was it already inclined? Glad my feet arent strapped - phew!

Hi tes - my nurse was going to come with me from my gp practice but she cant get the time off so my friend is going to come with me. I'll be glad when this is over! I really want it to be a positive experience (well as positive as it can be) but Im so beside myself with nerves I cant help thinking I'll make the situation worse than it should be. I have a lot of support from friends and even my ex has been reasonable ( I guess). The only negaive comments Ive had is friends saying "it cant be worse than giving birth" or "you have your bits waxed, whats the difference?"

The difference is choice: I choose to have my bits waxed and I chose to have my children, and besides through the whole giving birth procedure you have a baby to look forward to" Its I guess having no choice that makes me feel the way I do. Not going is not an option - I know that - I value my life too much not to go - unfortunately that doesnt give me comfort it just leaves me feeling cornered.


Hi Lily,

Never apologise for asking something that seems foolish - asking is the only way to find out :) I wanted to know as much as I could before my Colp/LLETZ as it helped me deal with things better :)

For my appointment I was in this fancy chair thing (much like the dentist chair) with a special 'arm' type thing for each foot. There were no straps or restraints (my nurse might have prefered if there had been - I really had to force myself to keep my knees resting on these metal bars things on the side of the chair (I thought they were for gripping wtih your hands, apparently they were indeed just for resting your knees on!)) When I went into the room the chair was in a sitting position (with the foot rest things where they would be in say a wheelchair) I was then inclined back while i was in the chair (feet not on foot rest things, i was asked to pop them up there after).

I had a (what seemed like terribly long but was in reality probably about 5 minutes) chat with the two nurses before hand and they asked how I was feeling about the procedure and stuff - I think this is standard practice and this would be the best time to voice your fears (they didn't really need to ask me how I felt, I think they could see I was petrified, but when I said I found smears/exam uncomfortable and had nearly passed out and had to spend a very embarasing 20 minutes 'recovering' at my previous one they were lovely. They asked if it was better that I knew things or didn't know things and if I wanted them to talk me through it before/during and made me feel SO comfortable (or as much as you can in that situation!) so I think if you explain your situation to them they'll me more than happy to recline your chair first :)

You could also call your clinic before your appointment if you feel too anxioux leaving it unti the day. 

I hope everything goes ok for you x x x x x 

Hi Lily, i completely understand how you feel about the chair but both times i had it the chair was only slightly reclined back, i was not flat on my back or i really would of freaked out. Thats one of the reasons i absolutely hate smears is because when they do them you are laid flat on your back. If i was you i would definately ask if they can do the procedure in the chair that has the footrests, it is a way better chair and you don't feel helpless in it. The first chair i had was the one wher your legs are in the kind of styrupps and i hated that because i did feel helpless and thats probably why i lost it in my first procedure. They unforntunately do have to recline the chair back when your sat in it but you don't get reclined fully back, you could always ask them to recline it back before you get on the chair, but that may be challenging with the chair with the footrests and impossible with the one with styrupps, i stress you do not want that chair, find out if they have the one with the footrest which i believe is usually the Lletz chair. As for your friends that say its not as bad as giving birth, they are very very wrong, i've had 2 kids since my attack at uni, none since my last attack but i found childbirth completely different, for starters they have to come out n we chooose to have them, i wouldn't change my babies for anything, but because of the attack i've never even had a postnatal because i couldn't put myself through it n i should of had 2, so i do know exactly how you feel, it is all about choice and the simple truth is when we've been through hell its really hard to put yourself through it. I only managed to go ahead with mine due to my children and me wanting to be around for them. The way i feel at the moment i can't put myself through it again, if it does come back it'll be slow n my kids will be grown up by then. You are very very brave and you will get through this. Many hugs Sharon xxx

Hi Lily,

I dont remember the being moved whilst I was sitting in it?  I also would say that I found it a much more comfortable postion than my smear test. It might be worth giving the clinic a call to check their set up so that you are fully informed before you get there as it may differ slighty per location. If your nurse hasn't done so already maybe she could let the clinic know why you are anxious about this and then hopefully they can make it as easy for you as possible.

Given what you have been through I'm not suprised you have anxiety around this.  I glad you have lots of support and especially that you will have a friend there to hold your hand.  Tess xx


Hi Lily, 

In my experience (which is now considerable I'm afraid and I've got my one-year check-up on Wednesday) of the colposcopy chair, it is in a fixed position. In other words, it is not a question of you getting onto the chair and them then lowering it backwards. It is already at a slight incline, as others have said here, but it is not like lying down. When friends have asked me what it's like I've always said "Think of a dentist's chair for gynaecology"! However, just because this is my experience does not mean this is universally the case, so I would ring the hospital and check - better to know. 

I want you to read the next bit I'm going to write, very carefully, because it's really important for you: I can categorically say that in no health authority in this country is there any reason for your legs to be strapped down during a colposcopy exam. I'm not sure that would even be legal, but it certainly wouldn't be ethical. There is no reason for your legs to be strapped or tied in any way because THERE IS NO ELEMENT OF LACK OF CONSENT. You'll remember from your previous thread that I *totally* understand what you're going through with this, which is why I really want to try and get across to you how important it is that you keep reminding yourself that YOU are the one in charge of this situation. It's not a question of 'getting away if I want to' because you're not trapped there in the first place. Not only is nothing going to be done without your will, it's essential for your wellbeing that if there is something you don't understand while you're there or something you don't feel has been explained to you that you know you have the right to say so. You have the right to say no. You have the right to tell them to stop. You have the right to know exactly what it is they are doing. You are the one in charge of the situation. 

Keep coming on here and keep asking questions if you want to and if you think it helps. There's no such thing as too much information - we're all grown-ups here - and no one in their right mind would think you were a fool. 

Much love, 

Annabel. x


Firstly just let me say that I am ovewhelmed by the love n support I am receiving through this site. This seems like a very lonely place to be right now and, without being able to come here and read through existing threads and ask questions I think I would have driven myself insane with fear. Thank you to all  who have replied, it has eased my mind somewhat. I am beginning to come round to the idea that I will need to be quite outspoken on the day, not bolshy or bossy, just sure of how I want MY porcedure to be carried out. This isnt something that comes easy to me (athough I manage this perfectly well in a classroom!).

I know that if I have all the information at hand before I go I will not feel helpless or unsure of what is happening. I decided to watch the colposcopy porcedure on youtube. It was difficult and I cried buckets but then I watched it again and thought it through. If I know that the initial procedure of testing the cervix with fluids is the same, I'll know what to expect. I wont be flinching or wondering if what they are doing will hurt etc. I feel reasonably happy with that now.

Imagining the walk from the dressing room to table/bed/chair thing was enough to induce panic let alone feet in sturrups and speculum in, but I think Im going to ask if I can walk round the chair first and look at it (sounds bizarre I know) then I'll ask then to recline it before I get on it. As for postioning my legs well they will have to wait for me to feel sufficiently relaxed to do that. I'm hoping the speculum wont be metal - if it is then they will have to change it. Quite how I cope with the speculum in I dont know but I have now mentally walked myself to the chair and got on it, without inducing a panic attack, Im hoping I can do this on the day.

Annabel, good luck for tomorrow, I'll be thinking of you. Please update us as to how things go. I have to say that your advice (and I did read through very slowly) has been invaluable. In all this I forgot that its about me, not anybody else, I need to empower myself so that Im in control.

I have copied and pasted the words you put in my last post and I am taking them with me to read to myself. It must have been painful for both you and sharon to share your experiences here; I am so very grateful that you did. You have helped me enormously.

Much love to everyone

Lily x