Confused after colposcopy today

Hi all. First time poster here! Hope everyone is ok.

Over the last 3 years, I have had 3 smear tests all showing HPV but no cells changes. I got referred for a colposcopy today and was reassured by the nurse that because there’s no sign of cell changes, it’s pretty much routine to just get me back to 3 yearly smears.

When the doctor looked, he said he could see viral cell changes, so took a biopsy. He said I should receive the results in 6-8 weeks.

Can anybody elaborate what ‘viral cell changes’ means please. I wished I’d asked more qus but just wanted to leave to be honest. If he could ‘see’ them is that a bad sign?

Thanks so much and happy weekend.

Hi Helen,

Do look at the info pages on the Jo’s Trust site - they will tell you all about cell changes and colposcopies and results. During the colposcopy your cervix is magnified up to 40 times and a liquid (often iodine) put on, which reveals any areas where the cells are not 100% normal. As you’ll read there are several changes ‘viral changes’ (in other words caused by the HPV virus) could be - borderline abnormal (might go away on it’s own), CIN1 (Minor cell changes), CIN2 (moderate) and CIN3 (severe). The biopsy they have taken will be able to tell which level of changes have happened, and they will the decide whether to leave and monitor or to treat. All explained in detail on the info pages. X

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Hi @Jacks133. Thank you so much for your reply. I’ve had a read from the sources that you recommended and feel a little more informed. Thank you for replying - you made me feel much less alone at a scary time. Hope you are keeping well x

Hey! I had this exact same result from my colposcopy two years ago, I’m still HPV positive but there were no cell changes on my smear last year…. I’m due my next smear next week, so I’m hoping I’ll be negative :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

I have bad results as well and I don’t even know what rare atypical squamous cells means just that I have a colposcopy soon and I’m not looking forward to it.

Thanks for your reply Sammie. Glad there’s in no cell changes for you. I’ve been told to wait up to 8 weeks for my results. I’ve just resided to the fact, that even if it was bad news, I can literally do nothing about it at the minute and is out of my hands, so pointless spending every minute worrying about it, which has helped a lot.

Sorry to hear this. Just to put your mind at ease, my colposcopy was absolutely fine. They took biopsies without anaesthetic (they did offer) and I literally felt nothing. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. There were like 4/5 nurses there talking to me throughout and the doctor was lovely too. The worst part was the waiting around - hope everything goes well for you!

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Hoping it does! First time in my life happening so it’s definitely put a different perspective on life and stress alone lol

I am in this exact same situation. All smears last 3 years have been hpv pos but no cell changes. Went for colposcopy on 25th May and she said viral cell changes and took biopsy so now it’s the anxious wait. Like you I left very confused thinking why didn’t I ask questions, I’m still a bit confused as to how smears say no cell changes but colposcopy says they are there

It’s all very baffling isn’t it! I guess the silver lining is that these tests are so sensitive they are picking anything up, even if they turn out to be nothing :slight_smile: My biopsies didn’t show anything from my colposcopy when they advised it was viral, so I’m sure the biopsies are just to be super super on the safe side xx