Colposcopy today

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.

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Hi, this is a really good detailed explanation of what happens & I definitely would have found this helpful.
I just wanted to say that I had my colposcopy just over 4-weeks ago now & still don't have my results. I did have treatment there & then (LLETZ) so not sure if that impacts how long the results take.

I wanted to let you know to help set your expectation, as my smear result came through fairly fast, so I expected these results too aswell. I've jumped up everytime the post comes & have felt so anxious. I rang the hospital & they said they're taking 4-5 weeks. 
Hopefully yours will be back a lot sooner, but I didn't want you to feel as anxious as I have as each week goes by. 
Take care & all the best for results x

Thank you for this post. I have my Colposcopy on Thursday and I am terrified. May I ask how was it when they take the biopsy? This is the part that's is making me incredibly anxious. 

Cat x

Thank you for posting :)! This has made me feel lots better, I too have low grade and require a colposcopy next week. Cat, I'm quite anxious about the biopsies too as my smears always are painful (my pain threshold is quite high so it always shocks me that they hurt so much). 

I hope all results are positive girls :) xxx

Thank you for posting :)! This has made me feel lots better, I too have low grade and require a colposcopy next week. Cat, I'm quite anxious about the biopsies too as my smears always are painful (my pain threshold is quite high so it always shocks me that they hurt so much). 

I hope all results are positive girls :) xxx

Hi Cat and Effie,

I had a biopsy a couple of weeks ago and honestly I could barely feel it and I also find smears to be quite painful/uncomfortable. She asked me to cough and that was it over and done with! Mine did bleed a lot afterwards but the doctor said that's very unusual and probably because I have a sensitive cervix(sorry tmi!) but apart from the bleeding there was no pain at the time. Afterwards I did have quite bad stomach cramps and also in the tops of my legs, but I just took pain killers and rested and it was gone by the next day.

Hope this helps and hope yours both go okay!x

Hi, thanks for the advice on receiving results. I had read that it can take up to 6 weeks so I was surprised when she said 2 - 3 weeks. I can see you got your results yesterday, I'm glad you have them now. I'll try not to expect anything at the 2 - 3 week mark, the waiting is hard! X

I'm so sorry, I have just seen this and I hope everything went ok for you yesterday. I think I felt the bit when they took the biopsies but it didn't really feel any worse than the whole thing. I was terrified too and I hate having smears, for me it felt like a longer smear with a bit more poking about lol. i hope you found it not too bad! X

Hi, I hope everything goes ok for you next week. I was very anxious as I hate smears and although I did find it a bit painful, it was manageable. On the positive side, I think I could now do a smear without being frightened! The staff were lovely so I hope they are for yours as well. And yes hopefully positive results for everyone x

Hi JollieKat, I just wanted to say sorry to hear about your bleeding and I hope you are ok. Hopefully we will all hear on results soon x

Hi all,

My colposcopy went ahead this morning, a few white patches but nothing the doctor was too worried about so no biopsies taken and now put back onto yearly smears. The process was a little uncomfortable but the nurses were friendly and the doctor was great throughout. I did start to panic when all fell silent - but I think that was from the sheer amount of blood that appeared as I was being prodded yell

I hope all goes well for you ladies, sending all the hugs xxx

Hi Effie

Glad to hear it was ok for you on Tuesday. I got my results today from the biopsies (literally only a 10 day wait!) and confirmed CIN1 with a smear in a year's time. I'm very relieved! I hope everyone else gets good results too xx

Thanks for the explanation, it has helped. I freaked out when I got the letter today saying I needed a colposcopy. I was expecting it as I had HPV positive last year and it’s been 12 years since I had a partner so it does not look like it’s clearing on it’s own.I don’t feel as nervous about the procedure now but I still wonder if it’s CIN2/3 if they will operate at the same time, that bit scares me.

Hi @bluemoon

You have every chance of clearing this virus its easier said than done but try to stay positive, its not really about how long youve had HPV for but how long the virus is active in your system, it can be there going undetected on a test when its inactive, but the clearing period is in regards to an active infection not when its in its dormancy… its typically believed that we contract it within the first year of becoming sexually active (this is why the vaccines for HPV are recommended to 13+ year olds before we have a chance to explore sexually) the virus then becomes dormant and reactivates at a later time

CIN2 to 3 are usually treated with the LLETZ, they may do it there and then but sometimes they do wait for a biopsy to confirm the cell grade and invite you at a later date… if its something you prefer you can request it to be done under GA

I hadnt been sexually active for a while before i had a HPV+ result in 2020, i had treatment for CIN3 in march22 and my test of cure follow up returned a HPV- … there is a light at the end of the tunnel xx

Thanks for your reply. How long was it since a relationship, that you tested positive for HPV? I see comments that it usually clears within a few years and that’s why I’m so anxious. I have a very stressful job, also carer for 3 people and have depression. I would just like some good news. Hopefully it will be ok

I hadnt been sexually active for over 5 years when i got a HPV+ so it was quite the shock at first, its a funny thing this virus the 1-2 year is only an average some can clear it sooner but some can take longerxx

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When I had my biopsies before Christmas the consultant said they would inject lignocaine ( like at the dentist) so I was numbed out. It wasn’t my favourite pastime but it wasn’t awful by any means. The nurses talking to me were really brilliant and really helped