After reading the posts on this forum and finding them so helpful, I thought I would post about my colposcopy today to share my experience and hopefully help anyone who has been told they need one.
I'm 30 and have always taken my smear tests on time; my two previous ones have been normal. I don't like having smears and I get quite freaked out by anything to do with medical procedures but I'm more frightened of not having one so I make sure I keep up to date. I don't have any children but I was due to get married in May (postponed due to Covid) and we were going to start trying after that. We decided to start trying anyway and I came off the mini-pill in May.
I got my letter regarding my routine smear test towards the end of June. I didn't know if the doctors were doing smear tests at the moment but as I have been working from home, I thought I may as well ring them straight away. I think I picked a lucky time as they said they had just started doing them again and they offered me the next day. I had my smear the next day and didn't really think about it after that because I've never had a problem before.
Two weeks later the results came and confirmed HPV+ and low grade dyskaryosis and it said I would receive a letter with a colposcopy appointment. I was floored and quite upset as I just was not expecting it at all. The leaflet they sent mentioned this website and I have found everyone's posts with their experiences really helpful and informative.
I did book a telephone appointment with my GP at this point because I wanted to ask them if we should continue trying for a baby but the doctor advised to stop trying and to wait until this is sorted. It just felt like another blow after the wedding being delayed. I also have not had a period since coming off the pill and I wanted to ask if that could be concerning with the results of the smear but the doctor said no and they were unlikely to be connected.
I got the letter with the colposcopy appointment about a week and a half later and the colposcopy appointment was booked for 10th August, so about 5 weeks after receiving the results of the smear test. Some more information was enclosed and also a Covid declaration to complete and take with me to say that I had not had any symptoms 7 days before the appointment (or been in contact with anyone who has symptoms/positive test 14 days before).
I was really nervous about the colposcopy because I do really hate smear tests and this just sounded like a prolonged and more painful smear test. It also was not helping that it was over 30 degrees today and obviously, you have to wear a face mask. I took a couple of paracetamol before I left the house.
I went to the hospital and the appointment was on time. The colposcopist was female and she took me into a room first, she explained the procedure using a picture of the vagina/womb and asked me some questions about my background and previous smears. She also made me feel a bit better about having HPV as she said basically everyone gets it once they are sexually active, there is nothing you can do to avoid it and it just depends whether your body can clear it or not. She asked me about my periods and I said I had not had one since coming off the pill 11 weeks ago but she said this was not a concern and that it would just be my body settling after the pill.
She said that as my smear results were low grade, it would either be confirming this during the colposcopy or seeing if there was something more under the surface as the colposcopy can see deeper than the smear. She said that they would be taking biopsies during the colposcopy.
She then took me into the room where they do the colposcopy and there were two nurses in there. They showed me into a room where I could take the lower half of my clothes off (I was wearing a dress so I left that on). There was also a toilet in this room and this gave me a chance to have a last minute pee.
I was feeling quite freaked out at this point and as I was opening the door slowly to come out, the nurse said 'come on out, don't be scared' and she was really friendly and that made me feel better. I went to the chair and as I lifted my dress up, they covered me with a towel and I lowered back onto the chair and put my feet in the footrests. They then lowered the chair back, I couldn't see anything that was happening down there at all.
It had said on the appointment letter that I had received, that I would be able to watch the procedure on a screen but there was nothing like this in the room and at that point, I don't think I could have focussed on it even if I had wanted to.
One of the nurses assisted the colposcopy and had general chatter with me and the other nurse stayed by my head, basically just comforting me and reminded me to focus on breathing. They were both absolutely lovely and I really appreciated the nurse who was by my head. It would never be something that I would have asked for so I think it is lovely that they do that.
The colposcopy itself was uncomfortable and a bit painful. It felt like a lifetime but probably was about 5 minutes. I just kept wanting it to be over but I did it and when she said, 'that's it, all done' I was so relieved.
The colposcopist said it didn't look too bad but she had taken some biopsies and I would received the results in the post in the next 2 - 3 weeks. I went into the room to get dressed (the nurse checked I had a pad with me) and on the way out I was given a leaflet about what to expect. The nurse said that I would probably have bleeding/discharge for about a week. She also said it might be black because of what they had put on during the colposcopy. I see on the leaflet it says they sometimes put on a paste to stop excessive bleeding and the paste can cause black gritty discharge.
The whole appointment only lasted 15 minutes and my partner was amazed that I was out so quickly.
I've had some cramps for the rest of the day but paracetamol seems to manage them and I've only had light bleeding so far. They said at the hospital no sex, tampons or swimming for 1 week.
So now it is just a wait for the biopsy results which I hope come quickly. The leaflet says up to 4 weeks so hopefully not too long to wait.
I hope this is helpful to anyone who got similar smear test results and is wondering what might happen at the appointment.