Not really sure what to expect...

Hi there,

Sorry about this, I feel a little daft posting here and know there have been lots of posts like this before.

I'm due a colposcopy in two weeks and despite all the information I've read on here or from the NHS, I'm still just feeling a bit anxious and unsure about the whole thing.

I'm only 24 and went for my first smear test a couple of years ago. The results came back abnormal and asked me to return for another smear in six months, but I had read that was pretty common and between finishing university, getting a new job and moving across the country, I just never got round to it.  

I've been feeling pretty lousy and run-down of late and decided I should probably look after myself a little better. As part of this I decided I should probably go back for another smear. I then received a letter from the hospital saying there had been changes in cells and I would need to go in for a colposcopy. I had never really given a thought to any of this stuff before and this was the first time I had heard anything about colposcopies or what happens when changes are found.

Again, I wasn't too phased by this as I had read that changes in cells were common in people of my age and a friend mentioned that I had only been for one other smear so there wasn't a lot to compare my recent one with. However, since receiving the information pack about the colposcopy from the NHS I've become more and more nervous about the procedure itself. I found my last smear extremely uncomfortable and painful (is that normal?) and I'm really not looking forward to this. I had hoped I could just go back to work afterwards but read from the info pack that it's best to take the rest of the day off. This stresses me out even more because I have to ask for time off work.

Anyway, long post. I know it's silly and this is probably just nothing. I'm a fairly logical person and not normally a hypochondriac - I know that all my symptoms (messed up hormones, constipation, back pain, fatigue etc. all from before smear) also fit with periods or stress and I guess I'm really just a bag of nerves these days.

So, that's where I'm at right now. I'm not discussing this with friends right now as it's personal and I really just wanted to know if there's anybody else around my age who is going through this? How the colposcopy was for you and how the following days were?  I’ve read other people discussing the results of theire smear… are you supposed to receive more detail than just ‘abnormal’ or ‘there were changes to cells’?


The colposcopy is nowhere near as daunting as it sounds. They will open you up with a speculum and wipe a vinegar solution inside you (resist the urge to say fish and chips!) then they will look through a colopscope which is like a magnifying glass. It does not go inside you, and looks like a big pair of binocolaurs. 

This, with the combination of the vinegar solution, will allow them to see your cervix in mush greater detail. If they see any area of concern they may take a biopsy. The best advice is to take a couple of paracetomol about an hour before you go so you have some pain releif in your system. Of course the more relaxed you are the easier it is but I know that is easier said than done. Good luck!

My colposcopy was less uncomfortable than my smear, as the colposcopy doctor was much more gentle & skilled (he didn't have to keep looking around for my cervix like my GP did!).  I had to have a couple of biopsies taken, he got me to cough each time he did so & although I did feel a brief sensation with each one I felt no pain whatsoever.  I didn't receive further treatment until my biopsy results had been analyzed, but I have noticed a few people in here have had treatment on the day of their colposcopy, in which case you wouldn't want to go back to work afterwards.  My advice for anyone going in for a colposcopy is to relax, it will probably be over very quickly & painlessly.  All the best.

I'm 24 and also had an abnormal smear (my first smear) and had a colposcopy last week. It's really normal to find smears uncomfortable but it's mostly due to how tense you are. If you tense up down there it makes it so much harder for them to do the procedure and then the more painful it is. You need to remember to breathe and try as hard as you can to relax. If you hold your breath you'll naturally tense up. 

Coughing or breathing out automatically relaxes your muscles down below and can make it more comfortable when the speculum is being inserted and opened up. A colposcopy takes longer than a smear but I wouldn't say that mine was anymore painful.

Take some paracetamol and ibuprofen before you go in so you've got some pain relief on board. If it's really bad maybe some co-codamol will help as it's a bit stronger. 

My doctor was lovely and reassuring which made me much more relaxed. I had three biopsies taken and it didn't hurt at all. Sometimes they will do a procedure to remove the cells if they think that it's needed but as you're young they may not do that. My doctor said that as I'm only 24, non smoker and no children my risk should be very low so they wanted to wait for biopsy results before they took action.

Hi ladies,


Thank you for your advice. I have my colposcopy tomorrow afternoon and feel a lot less nervous about it now.