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Colposcopy help please(9 Posts)
I've had some pretty unpleasant symptoms recently (graphic, apologies: but after my last period I carried on needing pads because pus was flowing at a similar rate). The GP couldn't visualise the cervix at my first visit as there was too much pus to see anything at all. I was given Metronizodole (sp?) and Cloracin for a week, which cleared it a lot.
The swab grew a lot of Group A strep so I am on penicillin for that, and on that exam she could also see a white area on the cervix, and said it didn't look right generally, so is referring me to the colposcopy clinic within two weeks. She was clear at the first appointment that she was concerned it was a cervical issue as it didn't fit with any GU/STI she'd come across, and there are some other symptoms.
I've had very heavy periods - as in, needed two pads in a 4 hour time frame - recently, and have bled a little after sex or a large bowel motion. My last smear a year ago was clear but before that I'd not had one for 5 years (pregnancy intervened when I was due one and then we moved house/practice).
When she started trying to look for a booking at the teaching hospital in the city and they had no appointments online she made a face at the thought of sending me to another, with a less good reputation, and said "no, you have to be seen within a fortnight" when I said I was happy to wait a bit longer then to be seen at the good one. She then called the centre of excellence and arranged to send a fax through so they could fit me into a clinic inside the two weeks. On the one hand I'm really grateful to have such a great GP who is so pro-active, but on the other I am twitchy she feels it is necessary to be.
Does anyone know more they could talk me through, in terms of what the white areas mean and what sort of extent this could be? I'm hoping it's something else, obviously, but am aware she thinks it is now more than altered cells and could well be early stage cervical cancer.
Also, please could someone tell me what happens at the colposcopy? She said there would be cameras and microscopes and swabs and a biopsy but I would so appreciate more detailed info.
Sorry you are going through this x
Did your GP actually say she thinks it could be early stage cervical cancer? If your last smear a year ago was clear then I'd have thought that is unlikely unless it was a false negative smear. CC generally takes years to develop.
Colposcopy is like an extended smear test, takes 15 minutes and they dye the area with a vinegary substance to see any white (abnormal) areas. They take a biopsy of this area for analysis in a lab.
Agree it just feels like a smear but takes a little longer. I think they have to take gynae problems seriously and refer to be on the safe side. It could be many things causing your problems, most of which are minor and easily treated, such as a polyp.
I had a pad attached to my thigh as an earth because they use an electric loop to do it. There was a screen behind me which shows what the camera is seeing so don't look back if you don't want torealise and was a bit shocked first time. If you're uncomfortable then say so. I've had 5 I think and did stop one a couple of times.
My best one was when there was a power problem and my lovely lady that did most of mine (was an engineer previously and told me I could swear as much as I liked) ended up between my legs with a light on a headband like the miners used to have. We did give up on that one!
Bit of backache afterwards, just take it easy. Might be best to have someone yto take you home so you don't have to drive. But it's okay! Please don't worry yourself too much. A bit of poking around feeling.
The nurses will be so kind and hold your hand and talk to you throughout the procedure if you need reassurance. You get to undress from your lower half privately behind a curtain and emerge with a sheet around yourself to protect your dignity before and afterwards.
Okay, the light on head just made me chuckle - thank you, I needed that!
And thanks, more generally, for all the info.
The GP was very clear she is concerned it could be early stage, yes, though honestly I don't know whether she meant early changes or actual early stage cancer, come to think of it? At the first appointment she said if the pus were related and it was a cervical problem causing it then it would be visible to her when the infection cleared up, and we'd probably be looking at loop excision. I said I'd had my last smear a year ago when explaining that I didn't see how I was at risk, and she just said, "Yes, but it was a year though." At the second she just did the exam, made the necessary calls, and was very matter of fact about it being important I was seen fast. I think I probably just assumed that they can't see cell changes with the naked eye, hence smear tests, but perhaps they can? I don't know.
She said it was important not to get ahead of ourselves and to take it one step at a time, but that's rather easier said than done, isn't it. I have an appointment now for next week - letter arrived today so they must have added me to a clinic when the practice faxed them yesterday.
Thank you all for the help and reassurance. MN is bloody brilliant sometimes.
Fingers crossed everything is fine. I didn't think cervical cell abnormalities could be seen with the naked eye either.
I hope all goes well for you
Just an update to say the consultant was lovely, and upshot is that what the GP saw is a Nabothian cyst (harmless), plus a lot of inflammation from the Group A Strep, which was also responsible for cervicitis and this was causing the bleeding after sex/a large bowel motion. She also thinks I now have endometriosis, which is why very heavy and painful periods are happening closer together now than before I had my daughter (extended bf meant I didn't have one for a year after she was born, either). I have a scan for that this week.
However, there's no indication (now the various antibiotics have killed off the strep) that there is any remaining inflammation, and the cyst is classic, and distinct from a cancer, so she is confident I am fine.
Very, very huge relief - I have a 7 yr old and a 2 yr old, and the elder has some additional needs his father finds very hard to cope with, so the thought of anything drastic being at issue was pretty horrendous.
Thank you for all the help and reassurance. MN can really be amazing at times.
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