So I’ve used this forum a fair few times over the last few months as I had a very panicked response to my out-of-the-blue abnormal smear (HOV and low level changes) and subsequent discovery of cell changes (CIN 2) and going through treatment. I’ve posted questions, fears, all sorts, but I just thought I’d come back with an update in case it helps anyone in future.
Even though I thought I knew all the sensible, rational things, I freaked out and was utterly devastated, with the whole thing made worse by being in a new relationship and otherwise feeling a bit isolated due to Covid.
At colposcopy, the consultant and nurses were brilliant - really reassuring. I was terrified, not of what was going to physically happen, but of what they might find. The colposcopy was not an issue at all and the biopsy didn’t really hurt either - a slight pinch maybe, minor discomfort and I don’t have a particularly high threshold for pain.
As a side note, I also got my hopes up that I wouldn’t need treatment because the consultant said that by chance, the area was so small that he thought the biopsy alone had removed everything. After the CIN 2 diagnosis though and because I’m over 30, he wanted to err on the side of caution. It was decided to burn off a small layer of cells from the site of the biopsy, just in case the changes went deeper. I had local anaesthetic which was probably the worst bit, but definitely bearable - I was asked to cough as the needle went in and that did distract me. It was no worse than getting the Covid jab. I then didn’t feel anything other than some weird pressure while the treatment was being done. They stuck a pad on my thigh so I didn’t accidentally get burned by the machine and the doctor operating it explained that she would turn it on first without it touching me just to get me used to the noise because it was loud. I was glad she did that because the noise could have otherwise been startling. It was all over in a few minutes.
I perhaps naively thought I might get off lighter in terms of the after effects because the suggestion seems to be that the treatment I had is less invasive than the loop which cuts out cells. However, that doesn’t seem to be how it works.
I had nothing at all bar some period-like pains for a couple of days, then I started to get the watery discharge. I was due to get my period just about 10 days or so after the treatment - either it came four/five days early or I started to bleed because of the healing process. Impossible to say which, although I lean towards early period because it was a bit heavier - heavier than normal for me, but not worryingly heavy. My periods are usually on the lighter and shorter side.
I had two days of heavier bleeding, then it all stopped for a day or so, then it started again but lighter and dragged on longer than usual - probably a full week. Then it was back to discharge. And that dragged on a lot at a low, but persistent level. It felt like it would never end and I was worrying about it ruining a planned holiday and about the impact mentally of no intimacy with my bf - if I’d struggle to get over being anxious about sex the longer I had to hold off.
I also got to the four-week stage and had to start thinking about my next period, literally not knowing what to expect, if it would still be messed up. But it came as close to bang on time as I could hope for, not normally being like clockwork, but usually only out by a day or two early or late. It was maybe a little lighter than usual and persisted at a low level for longer than usual, but that may have been impatience. When it finally ended, I have to say I lost patience, I didn’t wait a few days to see if the discharge would return, I just took the plunge literally and went swimming on holiday and happily, I’ve had no issues since, no discharge, nothing. I haven’t as it happens had full sex just yet - I have to admit I have a little more anxiety around that, given all the circumstances, but since it’s now five weeks post-treatment, I’d like to think the risk of infection has passed and hopefully that will be ok too.
I still struggle terribly with anxiety just because of how badly this has all affected me and worn me down mentally, so I guess I’d just say be prepared for it to take its toll. I feel like the impact was downplayed to me before treatment, probably trying to be positive/reassuring, but I feel like if I’d had a more realistic view of how things would go, it wouldn’t have hit me so hard or made me concerned I was overreacting.
I’m seeking expert help for the anxiety and trying not to dwell on what will happen in six months when I go back to colposcopy to see if I’m all clear. I worry that I won’t be, but I feel like I have to try really hard to get my mental health better and focus on that in the meantime.
I know this is long, but hopefully it helps someone because I know I found very little that wasn’t loop treatment focused.