I wanted to share my Colposcopy experience in the hopes of helping others who are are anxious and seeking out more information on what they can expect at their appointments. Living in Scotland I recieved my first letter inviting me for a smear test at age 20 and whilst I was anxious at getting a smear I knew it was important to book in for it as soon as possible. My first smear tested as minor changes to the cells and was therefore invited again in 6 months to be tested again. At my next appointment I recieved the same results and so again had to come back for a 3rd smear shortly after. It might be worth noting that I definitely found the smear test quite uncomfortable with some pain involved.
After my 3rd smear test I recieved a letter stating that I had 'changes that require further investigation' and was told I would soon recieve a letter where I could make an appointment for a Colposcopy. I was hugely anxious due to feeling lots of strange pains and bloating as we all do although I had recently changed contraceptive pill and thought this could be my body getting used to that. I also thought the pain and bloating was more likely to be related to IBS or similar conditions. After a few weeks I was given a letter with a number to phone and make an appointment and managed to book one in shortly after.
I would suggest bringing a partner or family member with you as this definitely helped keep me an ease waiting on my appointment. I was a nervous wreck leading up to this thinking the worst as most of us do. I think the fear of the unknown was the worst part! The appointment itself was quite daunting with so many in the room. A nurse took me into a cubicle at first and gave me a gown to put on in private. I was told to enter the room once I was ready and was then greeted by a doctor. The doctor asked me some questions first and then I was asked to lay down for the examination. One nurse was up by my head talking to me to keep me occupied and the other nurse was assiting the doctor. The examination at first was not painful. The speculum was very similar to that used in the smear test but it was very cold which was strange. As for the initial examination it did not feel too uncomfortable. I noticed others on here said that they could see a screen which showed their cervix and they could see parts changing colour highlighting any bad cells however there was no screen during my examination. Shortly after his initial examination he told me that he would need to take some biopsies. He got me to cough on a few occasions during this (Whilst they were all friendly and chatting I couldn't hear the doctor asking me to cough as the nurses were asking me so many questions to keep me occupied). It felt uncomfortable at first then near the end there was quite a bit of pain which made me feel a bit nauseous. After it was finished I was given a pad incase of any bleeding and was told it could be 6-8 weeks for results.
In terms of recovering from the biopsy I felt cramps similar to period pains and did bleed for a couple of days (quite light and a strange colour and texture at times, sorry if this is tmi but giving the honest truth so others don't feel so strange!). I felt slightly nauseous for a few days on occasion but again not to different to being on my period.
I will say I had to wait a long time for results, It took in total 8 weeks until I recieved a letter. I was anxious at first but after a month had passed I had the mentality that if it was anything to worry about I would have heard early so I pushed it to the back of my mind. I was given a letter stating that my biopsy results were normal but the doctor would still like to see me in 6 months for a checkup.
The whole experience can be quite daunting but I must say I feel lucky that I am being monitored at such a young age. It scares me that I am 23 and that others around the world aren't even invited for their first smear until the age of 25! It definitely is so important to be seen for your smear tests no matter how busy you are. I definitely put off returning for some of mine for longer than I should have and won't be doing this in the future. Good luck to anyone else who is going through this and to those who are dealing with a diagnosis.