Friable cervix

I've got a colposcopy appointment next week and worried sick. Can't sleep and I just feel like crying all the time. 

I've been bleeding after sex for several months now but only went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago. I didn't go sooner because I was terrified of getting covid as I live with someone who is high risk. And I hoped it would go away. I feel really stupid and angry with myself for not going earlier.

Everyone else on here seems to get referred because of abnormal smears. My last smear was almost 3 years ago and have always been clear. 

The GP said my cervix was friable. There's not much info on here about a friable cervix. There was quite a lot of blood when she took the speculum out and she didn't even do a smear or feel inside me, she only had a look. I bled for the rest of the day afterwards. More blood than when I have sex. I've stopped having sex now because I can't cope with any more blood.

The GP started talking about the pill causing a friable cervix but I've been off the pill for 2 and a half years (after taking it for almost 20 years). When I told her that, she didn't really offer any other explanation so in my head that meant she didn't want to say the word cancer.

Just wondering if anyone else is in a similar position.


Hi Fran

I was in a similar position back in the winter 2016.  It was several months before I went to the GP about my symptoms; abnormal discharge in my case and like you thought it would just sort itself out.  It's easy to see what one might have done better with hindsight and it took me a while to forgive myself but then life places many demands on us, no one gets it right all the time. At least you have kept up to date with your smears whereas I was more than 10 years overdue for a test when I got symptoms!

I did rather pick up on the word 'friable' because that is how my cervix was described - which doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer but you are already aware it's a possibility.  I think being sexually active is an advantage here as you could probably have gone on for much longer without any symptoms had you been celibate.  I'd been celibate for some time prior to my diagnosis which I am fairly sure delayed my diagnosis considerably but nevertheless my cancer was still localised and hadn't spread.

I can empathise with how you say you are feeling right now,  it's overwhelming and the not knowing is difficult.  It's good you have found this forum;  I would suggest resisting the temptation to Google especially at the moment because you have virtually no facts to go on.  There will always be support here for you.


Hi Jazza

Thanks for your reply.

I am trying to resist searching online but it's difficult not to, especially late at night when I can't sleep and thoughts are running through my head.

I've still got 7 days to go till my colposcopy. 

Hi Fran

Just wondering whether you want to consider calling Colposcopy to enquire about cancellation appointments?  Where you are at the moment 7 days can seem like the longest wait, although it won't have any negative effect on your medical outcome.


I might give them a call, it's a bit of bad timing because my period is due today or tomorrow and I wasn't really wanting to go for the appointment mid-flow when my period is heaviest (even though they said it was ok to do so). But maybe the embarrassment of period blood as well as everything else would be worth it to get answers. 

I've got period cramps just now and they feel worse/different from usual. I don't know if it's just psychological or if the GP has done some damage with the speculum as there was a lot of blood after the examination.

Can I ask, were you diagnosed at your first coloscopy?

Thanks for your replies, it is reassuring that someone else understand. It feels like all the advice on this website and the NHS and hospital websites is for women who have been referred to colposcopy after having had abnormal smears. They are full of reassurances that abnormal smears don't usually mean cancer. But no reassurances for my situation. Right now I feel that the diagnosis is inevitable.

I'm sorry to be so full of self-pity when you have gone through so much.


To cut a long story short  one GP and 2 gynaecologists tried to do a smear test on me without success - they couldn't get even the smallest speculum in!  I was then referred for a hysteroscopy as the Dr thought I most likely had fibroids and I guess it must have been decided there was no point sending me for colposcopy in the ususal way as that involves a speculum.  I had an attempted hysteroscopy  under GA which effectively became a colposcopy:  whilst I was in recovery the Dr told me that they didn't complete the hysterocopy as they could see abnormalities on my cervix and that it was possibly a cancer.  So they were forthcoming from the start; I think it rather depends on who does your colposcopy - I think some Drs will tell patients if they suspect a cancer and others are more circumspect.  You can't get a confirmed diagnosis at colposcopy;  if appropriate,  biopsies will be taken and sent to the lab for analysis which will then enable a diagnosis.

Don't let embarrassment about period blood hold you back - the colposcopy staff deal with vaginas all day they have seen it all.  If you do decide to call it's worth mentioning that you have symptoms as it should be a good reason for you to be prioritised if their schedule will allow.  The GP won't have done any lasting damage with the speculum  - maybe a bit more trauma than sex would involve but no more than that - you already know you have something  going on that is prone to bleeding.


In case it helps anyone, I'd like to share what happened at the colposcopy. The experience was similar to a smear test except there was a doctor and a nurse in the room (usually there's only a nurse doing my smear). She asked me a few questions then asked me to get undressed (trousers and pants) and get on the table. There were leg stirrups but they were positioned at an awkward angle and too far apart for my legs. So she said I could put my feet on the table instead if it was more comfortable. There was a monitor showing what she could see through the microscope but I asked the nurse to turn it away because it made me more nervous seeing inside me. I was quite anxious throughout which made the experience worse but on reflection it was quite similar to a smear test and I think the next time I go it won't be so bad.

She said the whole area (cervix/vagina) looked very fragile and that was the cause of the bleeding. Touching the tissue causes micro-tears. She said it didn't look like cancer (what a relief!) but was concerned with how fragile the tissue is. She asked my permission to take a swab for STIs which I consented to. She thinks an STI is unlikely but wanted to rule it out.

After the examination was finished and I'd got dressed again, she said she thought that the tissue was sensitive because I might be starting menopause (I'm 43). She asked me about my periods and I was able to show her the tracker on my phone, which shows them to be regular (there's some variation but that's normal for me) so she didn't seem as convinced it was the menopause but said it was still a possibility. She considered giving me estrogen cream but decided against it. She gave me lube and asked me to go back in a couple of months for a check up as my smear is due then anyway, and I won't get it at the GPs for another six months due to a COVID backlog on smears.

Overall, I'm relieved it doesn't appear to be cancer and I'll be getting a smear when it's due instead of having to wait several months but I'm quite unhappy about the diagnosis. I don't feel menopausal and my periods have not changed as far as I can see. The advice to use lube isn't really that helpful as we have been using it anyway (Durex naturale) and it obviously isn't helping the bleeding. I'll try the new lube (Pasante light lube) in case it's better. She told me never use any scented or flavoured lube and not to use KY jelly because it doesn't last long.

She said that I didn't need to live like this, bleeding all the time after having sex but she didn't actually do much to help. So it looks like I will just have to live with it.

I hope this helps someone. PS friable just means fragile nothing more than that. I did a lot of searching online about it before the appointment and none of it helped so if I had one piece of advice, it would be to stay away from Dr Google.