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Colposcopy?

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anchor31

Ideal_Rock
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I''m sorry if this post contains TMI, I''ll try to keep this as "clean" as possible...


I went to the doctor''s today to have my annual PAP test redone because the first one didn''t have enough cells on it for a good analysis. My doctor told me my cervix has an anomalous appearance and she wants me to go to the OBGYN to have a colposcopy to check it out. She''s not exactly worried because I''m not "at risk" for cervix cancer (21, one partner who''s never had unprotected relations, and we''ve since decided to wait until marriage), but she just wants to make sure.

Has anyone had a colposcopy? What should I do/expect? Is it the same thing as a PAP test?

I told my mom I wasn''t worried, but I can''t help wondering...
I could use some PS fairy dust, I guess! Thanks all.
 

Miranda

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Ok, I read your post wrong and couldn't figure out why you were going to have a COLONoscopy for a cervix...Oh my, it past my bedtime... Anyway, yes, the 'procedure' is fairly similar to a pap. I had one 10 years or so ago. If I remember correctly they look at a magnified image of your cervix for abnormalities. They may decide to treat it right then and there or they may schedule another appointment for that.

ETA: ~~~~~fairy dust~~~~~
 

monarch64

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Yes, I had one at about the age of 19 or 20, had only had 2 partners, no abnormalities to speak of then, etc. Everything came back normal. I think the diagnosis was ASCUS? I don''t even remember what that stands for now, but it was something involving abnormal cells on my cervix. We actually figured out that the problem could''ve been caused by me timing my pap appointment too close to the end of my previous period and that I had been using tampons for the days leading up to my appt. which can sometimes cause an abnormal pap. Is this a possibility for you? If not, I''m sure everything is fine, but if not better to know now and catch whatever it might be from the onset. Try not to worry too much.
 

diamondfan

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I had one many years ago. I think they take some samples of cervical tissue, it is not pleasant but not really a big deal either if that make sense. Good look, mine always turned out fine but I did have a couple of abnormal paps. Does your doctor do thin prep for your pap smears? they are supposed to be more accurate and I think they are done more routinely now. you used to have to ask for it.
 

coda72

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I have had colposcopies done about 10 ten times, and I have to say I''m not fond of them. Hopefully your experience will be different. It isn''t a just nother pap test. They put a vinegar solution on your cervix to see if any white patches form. If they do, they take biopsies of those areas. Those are indications of HPV. It sounds like to me that you most likely don''t have HPV, so you may not have to go through the biopsy part. I know that when they take biopsies of me, that I experience pretty uncomfortable cramping that goes on for a few hours. To me it''s more uncomfortable than normal period cramps. But everyone''s experience differs, and many people have colposcopies with no ill effects. Hopefully you will be one of those people, but I did want to tell of my experience.
 

appletini

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Take some advil/alleve about an hour before your appt just in case they do a biopsy...its just a little pinch. Good Luck.
 

IrishAngel7982

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I agree with Appletini. Take an advil before you go, and take another a while after you get home. I wasn''t in horrible pain, but did have some uncomfortable cramping. It is very scary (I was terrified because I didn''t know what was going on) but you''ll be fine sweetie. My doctor actually called me a few hours after the procedure to see if I was ok...and I was surprised because I wasn''t perfect but it wasn''t horrible. Good luck!
 

butterfly 17

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I had a colposcopy done as well. I had an abnormal pap when I was pregnant and at that time they did not do anything because they thought that perhaps the pregnancy caused changes in my cervix and also because they were afraid to do anything that might affect my baby.

So, after two months of having the baby, I had a repeat pap, which was normal and then I had it followed up 4 months later with another pap that was abnormal, so I had a coloposcopy done.

They basically take acetic acid ( vinegar like solution) and swab it with gigantic cotton swabs onto your cervix and the surrounding area and look for areas that have turned white from the solution. The cervix is normally like the inside of your cheek, but if there are abnormal cells, they interact with the acetic acid and turn it that white color.

It actually feels kind of cold and may sting a tiny bit from what I recall.

If there are any areas of white patches, they then biopsy those areas to be sent for further study to determine how far the cellular change has occurred.

The biopsies they take are very tiny amounts and you will feel a tiny pinch. After that is done, they will swab you with betadine( I recall, but I can''t be certain if they do it before or after the biopsies), to clean off those areas and prevent infection.

There is minimal bleeding and some cramping, so make sure you wear a maxi pad afterwards. You are also not allowed to have sex for a certain amount of days before the procedure and after as well.

I don''t remember everything, but there are 6 or 7 stages of cellular change, the last two being the cancerous stage if I recall. The biopsies will determine which stage you are in, if you are in any stage at all.

Anyway, I wish you luck!!!!
 

San Diego Bride

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it looks like everyone has done a great job explaining the process so there''s not too much to add.

your pap probably was read as ASCUS as someone mentioned. that stands for Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance. squamous cells are the type of cells that line your cervix. they can look "atypical" for a number of reasons, most of them benign. there are several severities of atypical. if the pap says ASCUS, favor dysplasia, then they suspect some sort of malignancy, likely an early one. a colposcopy is a way of being completely safe.

the colposcope is like a large microscope. so you''ll be in the typical "pap position" and there will be a microcope of sorts that looks into your vagina at your cervix. a magnified picture of your cervix will appear on a large screen. that''s probably the oddest part about the whole thing. then it''s as others described... they''ll swab with a vinegar solution that may sting a little bit (though it''s supposed to be more cold than anything) and biopsy any spots that may look suspicious. different women describe the biopsy part differently (as you can see here). most say it''s like their cervix being pinched... uncomfortable and odd, but not really painful. there are usually a couple of biopsies done. if you take tylenol or motrin an hour before, and then later on at home, it should be ok. just be prepared for a little cramping and spotting later on.

given your risk factors, or lack thereof, your colposcopy will likely be completely normal. even it isn''t though, early forms of malignant changes are treated super easily, like with coating your cervix with a certain solution. so i would try not to worry too much at the moment.

hope that helps.

disclaimer: it''s been about 8 years since i''ve done one, so things may be a little different now.
 

Maisie

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I had a punch biopsy taken from my cervix a few years ago. It wasn''t scary for me but its not the same as a colposcopy. My sister had one done and while it wasn''t really painful - it wasn''t pleasant either! They told me there aren''t any nerve endings in your cervix - I''m not sure I believe them lol! You will have some cramping pains low down in your stomach but it does ease off.

I just tried to remind myself that its sensible to have these tests done to rule out anything sinister going on. I am glad we live now and not 100 years ago when they didn''t routinely (not sure I spelled that right lol) test for these things!!

Good luck
 

AGBF

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february2003bride

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I had one done in January and to be totally honest with you- it hurts. Everyone has explained it perfectly but I think alot of it is about your own personal pain levels. I''ve had three kids so I thought my pain level was fairly high, but the colpop totally threw me through a loop. I had my DH take the day off so I could just rest! My friend had one done 6 years ago and she said it was like a really long pap smear, but mine was VERY invasive and not like a "really long regular pap" at all. My levels came back fairly high so I''ve had two acid wash treatments to my cervix, going on my third this Tuesday. For lack of a better word, it sucks.
Definitely take some Tylenol before you go in!! And good luck!!
 

anchor31

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Thanks for the information and testimonies everyone. I don''t know what I''d do without you all... I''ve read up on it too, and I feel more prepared and not as worried.
 

anchor31

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Poor J... I told my FI about my doctor''s appointment, and I really scared him. I told him not to worry... Poor guy.
 

Becky P

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Yup, I''ve had 2 - the most recent being in September. Basically, they suck, but if you take some advil or ibuprofin an hour or two before, it will dull the pain. If you can schedule it for a Friday, definitely do that so you''ll have the weekend to rest. The descriptions have been pretty accurate. You''re in the same position as a normal pap, and they swab you with solutions so that abnormal cells are highlighted. The doctor will be looking through a huge microscope. If they do find anything that needs to be looked into further, they''ll take a biopsy. Not to scare you, but biopsy is basically a fancy word for "cut out a piece of your skin". It only takes a few seconds, but it feels very tight and "crampy". Then, they have to stop the bleeding because they just cut off a piece of skin. Usually a nurse will stay in the room with you while you get dressed because some people have reactions (fainting) to the minimal loss of blood. She''ll also give you a pad because you will have spotting. I''d suggest buying some pads for your house because for me the spotting lasted almost a week. The other thing - which hopefully is not TMI... - is that in order to stop the bleeding, they "stuff" you with something - I''m not quite sure what it is. But, over the next few days as you shower, this brown stuff will fall out of you. It''s kind of gross, and it totally freaked me out the first time because I wasn''t expecting it. I''d take the rest of the day to rest, and plan for a couple days of extremely light activity. You will probably not be working out for at least a week, and I''d avoid stairs if at all possible for the first day or two. Remember, the first few days the place where they made the incision is healing and if you are too active, then you can break it open and it''ll hurt and bleed again.

If they do end up taking a biopsy, it usually takes about a week to come back. There are a 3 levels. Level 1, which is minimal abnormal cells - you''ll probably have to keep an eye out and repeat your pap every 4-6 months to see if it goes away. If it doesn''t go away on its own, the doctor may recommend surgery. Level 2 is moderate dysplasia and Level 3 is maximum or something. After level 3, it''s called Carcinoma In Situ, which is basically cancer. The good thing about getting your annual exam is that you can catch abnormal cell growth early on. As long as you follow the doctor''s recommendations about follow up visits and such, the likelihood that you''ll get cancer is very, very low. The earlier they catch it, the easier it is for them to remove the abnormalities.

If you do need surgery, there are a few types - they can freeze abnormal cells off, they have a laser version, and about 4 others I think. The doctor will recommend what he/she thinks would be best, and surgery won''t happen right away, so you''ll have time to ask questions, research on the internet, etc.

So, I guess in summary, colposcopolies are painful and annoying, but take some pain killers before hand and plan for a few days of being pretty low-key and lazy and you''ll be fine. It''s a common procedure.
 

appletini

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Also ask your FI to make dinner for you that night. I scheduled mine for the afternoon, then I got a manicure afterwards just to cheer myself up, then took a nap, and FI made spaghetti. I felt fine the next day.
 

diamondseeker2006

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I had one several years ago. I didn''t have access to all this advice, so not knowing any better, I went shopping afterwards! It really was not a big deal for me.
 

aquarius_ser

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I''ve had 2 colposcopy''s. Everyone has covered this pretty well..... my only advice to add: is when the Dr.''s finished, you may want to stay laying down for a few minutes.... I made the mistake of sitting up right afterwards and I almost passed out (got really sweaty, ears ringing), and from what my Dr. said this is fairly common.

My last one was 4 weeks ago and it was terrible (worse than the first). She did 2 or 3 biopsy''s this time so I''m guessing that''s why it was so painful. I had a lot of cramping afterwards (way worse than a period). I actually had a hard time driving home.
 

anchor31

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I wondered if you amazingly ladies could help me again. My poor FI is very worried about me. I told him there were close to 0% chances of me having something nasty and even if I do, it can be treated right away, and he read a bit on the subject... But the poor guy''s having trouble sleeping over this!
Is there anything I could say to him to get him to calm down a little?
 

anchor31

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Update

I went for the colposcopy today. The doc said everything looks fine, the only thing she noted is that my cervix seems to bleed easily. She took a tissue sample, but she said I have nothing to worry about.

The pain wasn''t any worse than a pap test for me, but I took some Advil just in case. I''m having some cramping and I''m feeling somewhat groggy from the meds, since I take those next to never. But I''m fine, I''ll call J soon to give him the update. The poor guy has been so worried...
 
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