First colposcopy next week - terrified. Need reassurance!

I'm 26 and had been putting off getting a smear for ages due to the fact I suffer (and always have done) from pain at my vaginal opening so assumed the procedure would be incredibly painful. When I finally went I was a nervous wreck and immediately went into 'verbal diarrhoea' mode to the nurse who tbh didn't seem particularly sympathetic. She bought a tray with 2 sizes of speculum over and I asked if she could use the small one and use lots of lube. She didn't tell me what she was doing, but miraculously it didn't hurt. I am assuming she used the small one because of this as I didn't even feel particularly stretched. 


Anyway, once that was over I was happy to forget it for 3 years, but oh no. Within a week of my smear I'd received an appointment for for a colposcopy saying I had 'high grade dyskaryosis'. The information given to me wasn't much so I resorted to Google.... And now I'm terrified! 


Apparently they have to use a much larger (metal!) speculum when they do the colposcopy to get a better view. I don't know how I'm going to handle this... Surely the fact I need a small one will be in my notes? Also I've heard the biopsy can be agony.. However as I didn't really feel my smear does that mean I might not have much feeling there anyway? 


I also read sometimes you're not allowed someone to go in with you? I'm taking my bf but I think I'll panic if they tell me he can't come in. Why do some people say there were TWO nurses in with them? The fact it says a nurse will be there to support you makes me think it's going to be extra traumatic. 


I just have such a fear of not being in control, I'm fine with pain and needles (have numerous piercings, regularly give blood etc) but I hate when I  not in control. I just have a fear of lying down not being able to see what they're doing and having my legs up so I can't escape. 


Please give me so nicer experiences than the horror stories I've read so far! I can't think of anything else, I've been up since 5am googling things and worrying. 

I certainly understand being scared of having this procedure done, It's all invasive and yucky and there is also the fear of having an abnormal smear too. Congrats on going and having one anyway despite your fear! I live in New Zealand so I don't know the rules around having people with you, I went in by myself because i decided there were some things I didn't want my partner seeing and my cervix was one of them! You're right about the speculum being a little larger, it's because they need to expose more of your cervix in order to take the biopsy. If you can find it in yourself to relax then it will be more comfortable going in - I know this will be tough though!!! As for not being able to see anything, they had my vagina on a giant TV that i was allowed to watch - it was kind of fascinating! They turned the screen off when they took the biopsy. They told me to cough and that I might feel a little pinch but I totally felt nothing. I walked out of there feeling a little violated but otherwise happy. STOP READING HORROR STORIES!!! They will only play on your minds and build this up to be a much bigger thing that it is likely to be, set yourself up in your mind that it will all be quick and OK. Wearing too tight pants or too high shoes is more uncomfortable than a speculum and banging your toe on a door frame hurts a million times more than this. I'm sure you have experienced those things before! Finally though, good luck with everything, I hope you have a good outcome.

Thanks so much for your helpful post Sparkle :-) Very well said.

Hi Littlecat :-)

There's a lovely tale just two below this one by a woman called carzz and her story is called 'New here...just wanted to share my experience' You might find that quite reassuring.

Please don't Google, if you want to find out anything at all stay on this site, there's heaps and heaps of information if you look, it doesn't all have to come from the forum.

It's NOT going to be extra traumatic. The reason that there are several people present during a gynaecological exam is because the patient is in a particularly vulnerable situation as well as being emotionally vulnerable and so there is a witness present to minimise the likelihood of any accusations of sexual impropriety or molestation. Or so I believe. It is extremely unlikely that your bf will be permitted to join you in the examination room because the doctors cannot predict how he is going to react to the sight of somebody else poking around with your vagina, so for the doctor's own safety and security I doubt he will be allowed in. Partners are usually allowed in only for childbirth.

Sorry if that sounds brusque in any way, I can't think of another way to phrase it.

Be lucky


Thanks both, 

I'm still scared :( I'm not sure what's worse, the waiting for the actual procedure or knowing there's something bad inside me. 


Re: the boyfriend thing. In all the leaflets I've got it says 'you may be allowed to have a friend/relative come into the examination room with you'.. So is it just partners that are not allowed? Should I just pretend he's a friend? Because if he is definitely not allowed I'll ask my mum... I need SOMEONE there  especially as the last nurse who did my smear was so abrupt and made me feel stupid.. I'd like some moral support and not to be made to feel like I'm exaggerating or making a fuss over nothing. I've seen stories though where it says their husband/bf came along too? So maybe can depend on the clinic? I will try and phone on Monday. 


It sounds silly but I've been practicing what it might feel like with my finger (obviously it's not the same) and it's the first time I've really  felt my own cervix before, it's kind of reassured me that whatever they do is on such a small scale but the thought of it still freaks me out. If I had a bit more time id try and get an appt for some valium but my doctors can't see me until 2 weeks time, and my colp is on Friday. 



Hi again Littlecat :-)

I'm glad you are giving yourself a 'test-drive' that's a really smart move.

It seems that policy on who can and who cannot be in the room with you varies from place to place. If I were you I'd call the clinic and find out if your bf can be in there with you. If they say no then ask if your mum can be in there with you. If they say no to both then take your bf along and take courage from the fact that he's just on the other side of the door. It's probably best not to zone yourself out with valium because it might make it that much more difficult to understand what they are telling you if they begin explaining complicated stuff.

Hope that helps

Be lucky


Hi Littlecat

I was really worried about my colposcopy, just over 4 weeks ago. It may vary from hospital to hospital but my husband came in with me and and sat up the nicer end, and held my hand throughout the whole process. I had LLETZ at the same time, as my high grade smear agreed with his visual exam and I was adamant I wanted it all done and dusted there and then if possible!

First we went in to a consultation room where we briefly discussed my smear results and history. I was then shown to a separate changing area to take off my lower clothing. I was given a hospital gown to wear but had worn a really long jumper dress just incase, so I could just pull it up/down.

There was a doctor (Registrar) and 2 nurses in the examination room, one at the bottom end passing things as required and one at the top chatting to my husband and I. You do have the option to watch it on a tv screen which magnifies things hugely. I chose not to look! They also offered me to look at what they had removed in the LLETZ biopsy, it was about the size of a penny!

Anyway, it was pretty awkward and a bit uncomfortable but very necessary to have done. I was really fortunate to have CIN3 which they believe to have successfully removed now.

If you need someone in there with you I would really push for it. They were totally fine about me taking my husband. Whoever supports you wont see a thing unless you ask them to point the monitor at you!

Good luck, it will be ok.

x x


Hi Littlecat,

Easier said than done I know but please try not to work yourself up in a state about the colposcopy. They are very skilled and efficient, more so than the hit and miss experience of GP surgery smear tests (in my experience at least). I hope this help reassure you about the speculum part too. You'll have a little consultation before you go in, so mention then about it and your anxiety. I've always had issues with speculums myself but then we're all built differently and my body freezes at the sense of being invaded. However the position in the chair and the doctor's  skill makes it easier. For me the docotr did manage a smaller speculum. That's the worst part. I've had a local anaesthetic for biopsies (there is a needle but it just stings a bit). Try to focus on your breathing, and if they know you're anxious they'll take care to go at your pace. Having two nurses has never been an issue so try not to freak out about it. Tivolli speaks a lot of sense in this area, as indeed many areas. I've gone in to the room on my own and its been helpful to have a nurse there to hold my hold as well as one to help with the proceedings, so to speak. For an invasive, undignified experience I can honestly say I've always been treated with respect and dgnity. The nurses have always been lovely.

I cope by taking myself off in my mind to a nice beach. You don't have to watch anything if you don't want to, you'll be given the option. 

Some clinics are see and treat, so they would do any treatment at the same time. But if you weren't ok with this you could always ask to go back. 

If it will put your mind at rest about your partner, ring the clinic on monday as at least then you'll know for sure. If you can find out the answer, it's better than worrying about that too between now and Fridy.

Try to keep yourself busy between now and then, and try not to go Googling. 

Good luck for your appointment x

Hi Littlecat,

I was literally petrified beyond belief at the thought of having my Colposcopy,

I had a few friends who sent me messages on how it's straight forward and nothing to worry about,

read their messages over and over word for word but still was terrified, 

during the Colposcopy itself like you, I didn't stop rambling on, I grabbed hold of the Nurses hand as if I was about to be beheaded, I agreed at the 

time to have a biopsy done there and then, couldn't beliEve it when they said it was finished as I never felt a thing, I almost felt annoyed at myself for getting so 

worked up, the nurses were lovely too, you will be fine, best wishes xxc :-)

Hi, I had a colposcopy last week and as the consultant could tell I was CIN3 he did the LLETZ treatment there and then. It was fine and didn't hurt at all. It was much more comfortable than a smear at the docs. The nurses were all lovely and chatted to me which was a good distraction. Try not to worry, the Derby hospital have had 400 ladies in over the past 3 months so this is much more common than people think and most cases just require regular check ups xx

Hi Hun, the above posts have pretty much covered it but thought I would add as I've been on both sides!! 

i had my colposcopy before Christmas... Have to say the whole thing was uncomfortable but not painfull and the doctor took time to explain everything before, during and after. There was a nurse and a healthcare assistant in the room. The nurse spoke to me the whole time and was really reassuring.... She sat right by my head n offered to hold my hand.... The doctor then explained everything n drew me some pics About the treatment.... I chose to watch the TV screen cos i was interested.... But you can easily turn your head away....The only bit which was a bit awkwards was that I knew the nurse!!! At the end she said "nice seeing u again"... N I replied "next time I hope u see a little less of me!!" .... N we both had a little giggle..., 


i must add add that I am a nurse with a long career of working doing gynae exams, smears n sexual health screening. In my professional capacity I would always be gratefull if ladies told me they were nervous... and whether they wanted me to talk them thru the procedure in detail.... So if u want to see the speculum just ask.... Tell the doctors n nurses what is ok n what is not... N if you need a break ask for one.... They really won't mind.... N as for having other people present I think it's generally a no, but in some cases it is possible (depending on hospital policy) n don't be surprised if the Dr asks to speak to u on your own for a few mins n then let's ya boyf in...x

WOW! That sounds SO civilised! You are lucky! The head of the gynae and obstetrics dept at my local hospital is very old-fashioned and there is no way he'd permit a husband to be present during an examination of his wife.

Hi there, as most people mentioned, its really no worse than a smear, it just feels more "formal" I guess. I was terrified too, especially when they said they had to take biopsies. I was bracing myself for it with my eyes shut tightly, next thing I knew she said "ok all done". I hadn't felt a thing!! You would not even notice the difference in speculum sizes either.

And it helps to have extra nurses in there holding your hand and talking chit chat to help keep you relaxed. 

Best of luck, I hope you come out of there as pleasantly surprised as we all were.

Hi Littlecat,

Just wanted to add to what the ladies have said above. For me I just had to be really logical about the whole thing. It is important for you to get this done and you need to focus on that. During the colposcopy itself I tried to focus on being calming and breathing deeply. On the good side it is a very short appointment...usually about 15 minutes.

I wish you the best of luck,


It was probably the unhinged look in my eyes :-) x

Thank you all for your kind words. The last 24 hours have been such a mix of emotions. I've gone from feeling fine and even joking about it with my friends to hysterically crying on the phone to my boyfriend in the middle of the night convinced I was going to die. 


I'm not too worried about the procedure now. Realistically how painful can it be? I've had much more painful things done and I'm sure this won't be the last! I'll just have to suck it up (literally... Ugh!). 


My fears are now more focused around the information I'll get and the results. I'm scared that I won't be told anything and left waiting for ages... Or that they will decide not to treat and do biopsys instead but then 5 weeks down the line I'll be called back for lletz (when the cells have progressed even more). I'm also worried that it'll either be straight up cancer or that I'll need so much of my cervix removed it'll render me infertile or incapable of carrying a child. Having kids is very high on my priority list and I never really considered that I wouldn't be able to. I know it's such a small chance that it's anything bad.. But it has to happen to someone right?  :(

Hey Littlecat,

You sound like me a month ago!! So first off if they need to do something they will not leave you waiting 5 weeks without telling you anything. As for the rest it is far too early to worry about anything like that. Keep positive and keep occupied and you will be ok.

Michelle xx

Two days to go! I'm feeling a lot better now. Though i did have a major freak out this morning as I noticed I had been bleeding in the night, it's now a mucky brown discharge (tmi sorry ladies!) so I'm hoping it was just a bit of spotting brought on by stress (I'm mid cycle on my pill). 

I'm really hoping I get a lletz treatment there and then (if I need it). I think I'd rather get it all over and done with than having to go back and miss more work etc. Also I think I prefer the sound of the lletz to a biopsy anyway! At least you get numbed! 

I'll let you know how it goes afterwards :)  I'm going to make a list of questions and I won't leave until the doctor has answered them!