Negative Follow-Up Smear but High-Risk HPV

I had my first abormal smear test back in 2009. Since then I've been going to the colposcopy clinic, initially every 6 months and then every year.

The punch biopsies I had on a few occasions showed CIN1/ Mild Dyskariosis but each time the doctor or nurse I saw decided to leave things alone to see if it improved on its own.

Gradually CIN1 became 'HPV Changes only' but about a year ago the consultant that I saw decided that I should have an HPV test, which came back positive for high risk HPV. Because of that and the fact that my mild changes had been persistent they decided to go ahead with LLETZ, which I had last November (2013).

That all went smoothly and everything healed OK. I went back for my follow up smear in May this year and was told that the vast majority of women find that everything comes back clear and they can re-enter the standard cervical screening program.

My results, however, came back negative for CIN but show that I still have high risk HPV and I've got a new appointment for a colposcopy in September.

I know there's no actual cure for HPV but just wondered what others' experience has been with this kind of thing. I am a little concerned about it because I was hoping that everything would be back to 'normal' now. Also, since I only had my first HPV test (as far as I know) last year, I don't actually know how long I've had high risk HPV for (unless it's the case that it was this that caused the mild abnormality in the first place?)

As you can see I'm kind of confused so any advice/comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

Hi

I had abnormal smears from 2006, including 2 wire loops treatments. This continued all the way up until beginning of this year, when I had my first negative smear and negative HPV test. Yes, you would have had HPV from the beginning, as this is what causes the abnormalities. They have only just began to test this on routine smears now.

It is good your smear is negative, they will just have a further look as a back up measure.

I am living proof that persistent CIN and HPV can eventually go away. Just because it doesn't happen straight away, doesn't mean it won't. I know exactly how you feel and it isn't nice to have it looming all the time. I have been returned to normal 3 yearly recall (previously would have been yearly smears for 10 years until these new rules came in). I will however be paying for a private smear each year.

I hope this helps and everything goes OK in September.

Erika

Hi Erika. Thanks for your reply. Your story's very reassuring so I appreciate you sharing it. And I'm also glad that the hospital will be keeping a close eye on me for now, it would just be nice to be done with the Colposcopy clinic now!

I'm very pleased to hear that you had a negative smear and a negative HPV test result this year. That's great news and you must be relieved to have it all behind you.

Hopefully I'll be in the same position at some point - and like you I think that when I am I will also be paying for yearly smear tests afterwards. 3 years just seems like far too long a wait after being checked so regularly for so long.

Thanks again for helping to put my mind at ease.

It's funny isn't it. All I wanted was the colposcopy clinic behind me, now it is, I wish I still had the reassurance of being checked there! (But obviously without the abnormal results!)Discharge to 3 yearly normal smear at doctor somehow feels very scary! Still, the private smear will help put my mind at rest! Keeping everything crossed for you that it will soon be behind you.

UPDATE AND VENTING:

I went back for a colposcopy examination yesterday. The nurse didn't do a smear because my last one was only in May so she just took a look at my cervix and was frustrated to find HPV lurking just inside the opening of the cervix, despite the fact that after my LLETZ treatment they had clear margins on what they removed.. She said that there was no need for a biopsy at that point. I'm not sure why, because I presume there were cells changes as something was visible but I forgot to ask about this at the time.

She covered the whole area in silver nitrate which was quite uncomfortable because it was on the inside of my cervix and there was a lot of prodding around with that and putting the dye on beforehand. She is hoping that that will trigger a bit of inflammation so that my immune system will kick in and fight off the virus. If not, then they'll just keep keeping an eye on it.

She also suggested that I just try to boost my immune system by taking extra vitamin C and drinking green tea. Although I have High Risk HPV it isn't type 16 or 18 which are the types present in 70% of cervical cancers. But then she also told me when I had my treatment that 99% of women tend to have normal smear/hpv test results when they do the test of cure so I'm still stressed about this.

I was diagnosed with M.E in 2005 so I'm now worried that perhaps the M.E has in some way affected my immune system and is making things harder for my body in fighting off the HPV. I don't know for certain that that's the case but I was hoping by now that this would have cleared up as it's been going on for 5 years now and I'm feeling very anxious about the fact that it seems to have come back/lingered.

Just needed to get this out and offload.