Feeling ashamed about being referred for colposcopy

I hope this is the right place for me to post this and nobody minds me sharing how I’m feeling.
Following my second abnormal smear test result I’ve been referred for a colposcopy. The conversation with the nurse was a bit of a blur but I think she said I have low grade displasia (definitely low grade something beginning with a D!). My previous smear test showed some very minor abnormalities but tested negative for HPV. I have another gynaecological condition which I’m having long term treatment for so she had said not to worry and that perhaps the reading had been related to that. Today I got my latest smear results and it seems that isn’t the case although all I know is that I have the low grade displasia.
I’m usually a confident, happy person and know I absolutely have to go to my appointment, but for some reason this referral has thrown up feelings of embarrassment and being ashamed, I think because of the connotations of HPV being sexually transmitted. I know that a huge proportion of the population will have HPV at some point in their lives, that it’s not my fault (or anyone else’s!) and that there are a lot of different types of HPV, but it’s left me with these confusing, negative feelings.
I split up with my boyfriend fairly recently but have spoken about my results today with my family. Nobody at all seems as worried or as phased by them as me, and the nurse said it’s very common.
I’ve done some googling (bad idea!) and some posts online say that I need to tell all future partners about the HPV! This seems like a pretty scary suggestion. Is that the case?! I can’t even imagine how or when I would go about doing that.
I know I’m probably making a bigger deal of this than I need to and over reacting, but I’m just feeling pretty scared and vulnerable, I think particularly as I now seem to have a second gynaecological issue!
I wondered if anyone could offer any advice?

Hi Marie,

I found your post very interesting as feelings of shame or embarrassment I believe are so common, but not much talked about, so bringing it out in the open is a good thing. I have been through treatment for CC in Sept 14 and when I was diagnosed I felt many many different feelings but embarrassment was one of them. I felt that I had almost brought it on myself which I know really is not the case! just by being sexually active. Sex is something we are supposed to enjoy, but then having it linked to gynae problems and even cancer, can throw up all sorts of  contradictions and suspicions about where it came from. Then the procedures themselves are embarrassing and very intimate and dealt with in a very matter of fact way. This can leave you feeling like a number at best! It all can feel very confusing and take a while to sort out in your own mind. Please don't let it stop you from getting to your appointment though. It is so important to follow this through to get the treatment you need early on. As for telling any new partners about HPV, I have not heard this before. Around 90% odd of the population have HPV at some point, but most people's immune systems manage successfully to fight it off. Although lots of research is going on around HPV, still not enough is known about it. Have a look at the information part of this site on it. Men can be the carriers or couples can pass it back and forth. As you say, it's not your fault you have the virus, it is out there and we have to deal with it as best we can. 

Lets hope you have nothing more than mild changes and that your body is fighting off the virus. Good luck with it all.

Hey Marie,

You should definitely not feel embarrassed or ashamed as sex is a normal part of every ones life out there and from what I understand you can get hpv from having 50 partners or just only ever having one or even from other sexual activities that don't involve full intercourse. So the odds are high for most of the population getting it at some point. 

I think it's a real shame we are not educated more about hpv as I was really in the dark to start with and like you felt embarrassed. None of my friends or family have reacted badly (and I've told quite a few now) and most feel ignorant about smear tests and hpv wishing they knew more. I even had to explain to a new boyfriend not long after getting my hpv result what was going on, and I was worried  he might think. Thankfully he is sensible and did his own research and has been fully supportive.

Its a rubbish thing to go through but Rachel's right, read some decent sources of information, don't be scared to tell people you are close too as they will no doubt want to be there for you and support you best they can. My friends have asked me all sorts of questions and it turns out they have gone through embarrassing stuff too.

The info on here is pretty useful too as it certainly helps you feel more normal. Hope things get better soon x


Hi Marie,

i have felt exactly the same way.. When I received the letter informing me i had an abnormal smear, it wasn't the cell changes that bothered me. It was the HPV part that upset me. I had never heard of it before and thought I had to break the news to my husband that I had an STD (I thought he had been unfaithful or how on earth was I going to explain it to him that I had it). I googled it immediately and after reading becamea lot more relaxed. You do not (by law) have to tell any new partners that you have it. having the virus will not affect the majority of people, we just fall into the small minor that it has. with most low grade Dyskarosis, they may not offer you treatment (if biopsy confirm the smear result) and you'll have a follow up in 6-12 months as most CIN 1 cases clear by themselves (I'm hoping this is the case for myself). You're not alone in anything you're thinking. Please do not feel ashamed. Xx

I found this thread a very odd/interesting read as I had no idea anyone thought like this. Having been through the whole cervical cancer thing I can honestly say nothing like this crossed my mind. I would no more feel embarrassed by this than I would at getting a diagnosis of breast, lung or any other type of cancer....and heaven help anyone who might insinuated otherwise when I told them!

Very best wishes for the future, hope it all works out ok.

Hi Marie and Ladies I am sorry  to hear that you are made to feel this way it is totally uncalled for. I dont believe men with Prostrate cancer or any other cancer are made to feel the same way. Please dont be so hard on yourselves your not here because you had sex like every other human being none of us ask for these difficulties it is unexpected. I hope you all find Peace of mind and make full recoveries I will be thinking about you all lots of love xxxxxxxxxxx

I feel the same. I haven't told my partner about the HPV, only the abnormal cells. He probably has the HPV which worries me.. Could he too develop health problems from it.. As I read this really only affects women?