Mild dysplasia cervix need colposcopy
March 18, 2015 1:57 PM   Subscribe

I am beyond worried My pap result came back low dysplasia. LGISL is the diagnosis which is one step after ASCUS. Should I be worried? Well I already am. I do not know how to deal with this. I got scheduled for colpo to look at it and get a biopsy. Did you go through this?
posted by barexamfreak to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is a very common problem. No, you should not be worried, although it's understandable that you are - this is the reason why paps are done, so that LGSIL can be caught before it progresses. It's like having a polyp found on your colonoscopy. You caught it before it was cancer. This is good! And totally treatable. In fact, LGSIL can get better spontaneously without any treatment. So, definitely no need to worry at this point.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 2:01 PM on March 18, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yes, this happened to me about a year ago. It was scary but it worked out totally fine for me. I was really freaked out until everything straightened out though, and I am now very rigid about getting my paps done on time now!

My advice? At this point, just try to get through one day at a time, put it in the back of your mind as much as possible until the coloscopy/biopsy is over and the results are back. If you feel like you aren't getting enough information from your GYN, you can get a second opinion. Personally I have a GYN who is incredibly responsive and who really takes me seriously, but not everyone has this luxury and if you are unhappy with your care, now is the time to think about switching.

If you are nervous about the actual procedure itself, you can ask your GYN for a mild anti-anxiety medication for the day. I have to report that FOR ME it did not hurt, it was over really, really quickly, and it was not any different than a regular exam - for me. Your experience may turn out differently, but as someone who personally gets very worked up over medical exams - especially GYN exams - I was very surprised at how non-eventful the coloscopy and the biopsy were.

All the best. Sorry you're going through this. It is definitely anxiety-inducing, but like treehorn+bunny says, you're in a pretty good spot here - this is what preventive medicine is all about. Try your best to rest easy until you have more information from the tests.
posted by sockermom at 2:07 PM on March 18, 2015

I had this. I was totally flipped out. We kept and eye on it. I got... not sure if it was a biopsy but a more scrapey scrape than a regular pap smear (a little hurty but nothing awful) which showed nothing problematic. It eventually went away. Good for you getting it checked out early. There is a very good chance this is nothing.
posted by jessamyn at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's very routine and nothing much to worry about. I had this done when I was 22, but I went through the whole thing with no anesthesia or meds at all. I highly dis-recommend this: It was very painful. But if your Dr. gives you something for the anxiety & pain you'll be fine -- ask ahead of time if you can get a valium before your appointment, and if you have a low pain threshold like me, it'd be worth asking if there's a way to do local anesthesia (don't let them tell you there aren't nerve endings there... there ARE TOO). Also make sure you hike up the back of your shirt above your bum when you're lying on the table or it'll get a little... red.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 2:11 PM on March 18, 2015

This is SO not a thing to worry about. It's like: okay, if you get onto I-95 North in New York, you'll see signs that say "Boston", but that doesn't mean Boston is the next exit. You've got three hours of driving ahead of you and you have over 100 chances to change your mind and get off I-95. So it's not like "cancer" is your very next exit, it's more like you're still back in New York and your next exit is still New Rochelle.

I've had an abnormal pap smear twice. The first time I had a colposcopy, and the results from that showed that the dysplasia was so slight that I could actually stand to just do nothing and check it again the next year and see if it went away on its own - and it did. The second time I had dysplasia, I was scheduled for a colposcopy but didn't even get it (there was some weird mixup with my doctor's office), and when I went to reschedule my doctor brought me in for another pap smear first and that one came back all clear, so we decided not to bother.

If you DO come back with a colposcopy result that your doctor wants to do something about though, that's STILL no reason to worry - my best friend had a co-worker who did the thing where they freeze off the dysplasia like a wart. And while "it wasn't the most fun day she had in her life," my friend said, it was an outpatient procedure, and her co-worker just took the rest of the day off work after the procedure and was fine the next day, and that took care of the problem.

So yeah - I know that the c-word is scary as shit, but this is ABSOLUTELY going to be fine. The only way that this could turn into cancer is if you do absolutely nothing to treat this for the next ten years or so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:12 PM on March 18, 2015 [7 favorites]

Oh, this sounds super-scary but it is very, very often not a big deal at all. I know way more women who have had a colpo done than women who have had 100% perfect paps every year always. I went through it myself when I was a young pup and utterly lost my danged mind about it (I mean full-on wailing, rending of garments, bad poetry about dying of cancer, the whole nine) before the procedure, but it was really, honestly, and truly NBD.

The colpo was very uncomfortable physically (and, for me, psychologically), but it was over in an instant and anyway, chances are you won't ever have to do it again! Ask for a tiny little Valium scrip if you need it.

I'm about 15 years out from my 'bad' pap and a couple of years ago, my gyn gave me dispensation to only get the full undercarriage exam done every three years rather than every year. Please take care and try not to worry too much!
posted by divined by radio at 2:15 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yep! Agreed - it's scary, and it hurts like the dickens. But quickly after, you get to walk out into the sunshine, have a glass of wine, and tell to your friends how much it sucked. And then you're fine.

I had to go all the way to a LEEP, which was even scarier and more upsetting, and I'm still fine.

(I have to get another one in a month. So I feel you. But this time, I'm not nearly as scared. Just annoyed.)
posted by functionequalsform at 2:31 PM on March 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

This happened to me. The colposcopy hurt a little, but only for a second, like a sharp pinch and then over with. I ended up having to go on and have a cone biopsy, which was done under a general anaesthetic. This was about twenty years ago, and all my pap smears have been clear since then, and I've had no problems with having children. I was scared out of my mind too, but it really did turn into not much of anything. Keep breathing. You'll be ok!
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 2:31 PM on March 18, 2015

I literally do not know a woman over the age of about 28 who hasn't done this at least once.

Mine was actually cryosurgery - they froze my cervix with liquid nitrogen, basically killing the outer layer of tissue. The next six weeks were gross, but in a pantyliner way, not a stay-home-from-work way. No meds, they didn't even do me the courtesy of suggesting a little ibuprofen beforehand (which would have chilled me out some), but I just had a little cramping and spent the rest of the day on the couch watching TV (largely because I was completely exhausted from the stress). I could have gone back to work if I'd had to, but I would have felt really sorry for myself.

I would be seriously annoyed if I had to do it again, but not especially worried.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:40 PM on March 18, 2015

Same as all above. I've had three colpos and they suck and I was terrified the first time, but it's over soon and not that big a deal. I bet there are ten or twenty women reading this to every one commenting who have had the same experience. It's super common. Good luck!
posted by CheeseLouise at 2:40 PM on March 18, 2015

And another - it was uncomfortable but not worse than bad cramp days, everything was fine. I treated myself to a good lunch afterward, because it's not fun and acting like a grown-up should have rewards. No problems since.
posted by ldthomps at 2:52 PM on March 18, 2015

Same thing happened to me 10 years ago. For me it hurt like hell, but I also tend to be a wimp when it comes to minor pain (but major pain isn't that bad, it's weird). My doctor at the time had absolutely no bedside manner and was cruel and nasty while I cried during the procedure (and all the way home on the subway). So get some anti-anxiety drugs if you can, just in case it DOES hurt (I had been told by several people that it was no big deal, so I'd guess that most people don't have a problem with it?) but it's over pretty quickly AND THEN it cleared up on its own and I haven't had an abnormal pap since. So take an Ativan, get the colpo, and keep an eye on things. It will most likely be okay.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:57 PM on March 18, 2015

Hey there, I am dealing with this exact thing right now myself. It's definitely scary, but the good thing is that for the most part this particular issue often works itself out on its own after a few years, so it isn't as dire as it seems. The colposcopy is painful, yes; now that I've had a few done, I would not hesitate to ask for a sedative or relaxant to help soothe the hurt. That being said, my cervix is extremely, extremely sensitive so I have a lot going on in regards to that anyway. For me, both my colpos turned up negative. I still test positive after paps and have for a few years now. My OBGYN says it happens. Sending you hugs for a negative colpo and a speedy recovery.
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:58 PM on March 18, 2015

Sure, I had to get one and then a LEEP about 10 years ago. Since then, I had about 5 years of normal paps, and now about 1 in 3 is abnormal, but never two in a row, so I just shrug and continue on. Cervical dysplasia is super common.
posted by gaspode at 3:21 PM on March 18, 2015

I'm another one chiming in to say that I had this, too (and LEEP at least twice, if not 3 times -- see, I don't even remember). Take the day off and treat yourself, but don't worry!
posted by jeweled accumulation at 4:03 PM on March 18, 2015

I'm another one who had this and it didn't require any treatment and went away on its own within a couple of years.
posted by lollusc at 4:08 PM on March 18, 2015

Dealing with this right now, but a more severe version. Two colpos and a LEEP so far after my first abnormal pap nine months ago. The colpos haven't been fun, but they were manageable. Ibuprofen about an hour or so before the procedure and a heating pad afterwards was helpful. The anxiety has been the worst part, and even that isn't all-consuming after a reasonable pity session.
posted by Diagonalize at 4:26 PM on March 18, 2015

Check your MeMail
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:17 PM on March 18, 2015

Yup. Had colpo with biopsies, almost had a leep, more biopsies, abnormal pap, then three normal paps (hooray). I was 22. These things happen. Definitely take pain killers before. My doctor and nurse were really good and offered juice after. First one was a few hours of cramping, second one was pretty severe cramping due to the last biopsy deeper in my cervix, but only for the rest of the day.

Oh also, this is gross, but if you pass a nasty giant blood clot gross thing that looks like a small alien sometime after - totally normal. They don't really warn you about that, but I asked after the fact because it was freaky.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:55 PM on March 18, 2015

LEEPed it and done, normal paps for 15 years after that.
It was super scary and a Big Deal at the time, so I empathize. But now?
It's just one of those things that happened, you know?
posted by susiswimmer at 8:11 PM on March 18, 2015

Also had this happen. Colpo definitely wasn't the most comfortable thing in the word. Take Tylenol and Advil before (actually if you have Percocert or something lying around I'd take a tiny bit of that to take the edg off). Bring a pad because you'll bleed a little, and usually the pads they give you are these horrible gigantic ones because apparently OBGYN offices do not have supplies that use modern technology! Maybe get one of those Thermacare heat wraps which help a lot with cramps.

I did end up having to have a procedure (not the LEEP but something similar) and it wasn't a big deal. I mean yeah I did have to have it done in the hospital, but it wasn't like the recent neurosurgery I had. I took a few days of downtime to recover (surgery was on a Friday...I could have gone back to work Monday but I took the day off because why not). That was 3 years ago and my paps have been clear ever since.
posted by radioamy at 8:59 PM on March 18, 2015

Hi! I also had to go all the way to LEEP after a colposcopy. I have since that time had 3 paps that were all clear.

A colposcopy is decidedly not pleasant, but I found it less distressing than, say, a Pap smear immediately followed by my period. I was really upset when my gyno told me I had to have a colposcopy in the first place, and started crying on the exam table and everything. What really helped me was researching how much colposcopy/LEEP is preventative care. It doesn't mean you have cancer or even HPV. It means that someone is battling SIGNS of potential cervix problems.

This is scary stuff, and it can be presented in very scary ways. You're going to be fine, though. Internet hugs!
posted by a hat out of hell at 9:16 PM on March 18, 2015

Hi. I had this 10+ years ago. I was terrified! After I was diagnosed and started openly talking about how scared I was and found out how common it is, I became really frustrated because it turned out that while this was a fairly common thing, NO ONE talked about their own experiences unless asked. So I was left i the experience of feeling alone, terrified and "tainted". So from that point on I made it a mission of mine to talk about these things, so other women would know they weren't alone in their experiences. Just FYI, my biopsy hurt like hell and then I had "spotting" that looked like coffee grounds for about a week later. I was also pretty emotionally raw from the fear and the unknown.

As others have said, this is TOTALLY a thing that can spontaneously heal itself. But you should also be prepared for your doctor to request 2x paps a year until you're in the clear. And you should be prepared to freak out for a while anytime you have a minor health issue or have to see the gyno. I didn't have insurance at the time of my diagnosis so I ended up having my colpo at Planned Parenthood, which is why I'm a lifelong advocate for the org now.

But the bottom line is, yes, this is VERY common and especially with mild displasia you'll probably be fine and then you can carry the torch of talking openly about this so that when the next woman gets diagnosed she won't feel so alone.
posted by Brittanie at 10:17 PM on March 18, 2015

You will be fine. This feels like a big deal and it is very likely not...the whole process is designed to catch things before they become a big deal, which is why it is so important to complete this follow up and any recommended plan that follows.

I went through more or less the same thing (but a non-mild version) a couple years ago and my docs ended up catching an in situ cancer that was easily treated with a LEEP cone biopsy and long-term close surveillance. In my (unfortunately vast) colposcopy experience, it is always best to ask your doctor's office if you can take some ibuprofen ahead of time.

The colposcopy itself is just the doctor using what is basically a big magnifying glass so they can look at your cervix more closely. That doesn't hurt, although the acetic acid they use to wash your cervix can sting a little bit. They may do a punch biopsy if they see anything even remotely funny. This is pinchy/crampy and not awesome but doesn't last very long and is probably the most uncomfortable thing that might happen.

I find that I am much more comfortable at my appointments when the doctor lets me know what he is doing. In my case they have to do some more invasive things occasionally and it was just kind of sucky to be surprised and confused by all the additional rummaging around and poking when I was already feeling pretty damn vulnerable. The worst thing for me was not knowing what was going on so I asked him to narrate so it was less weird for me after the first appointment. He also now meets with me to lay out the plans for my appointment while I am still clothed, at my request, and my anxiety is about 50% reduced with those two things. It is okay to advocate for yourself and let the office know you are struggling not to flip out, and ask them if they have any suggestions for dealing with your anxiety.

Memail if you want to talk privately. You'll be okay.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:28 AM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I had mild dysplasia along with very heavy menstrual bleeding years ago. This was after a miscarriage and I had to have a D&C as well as cone biopsy. I was scared to death, but everything was fine and have not had a questionable pap smear in the many years since. You will be OK. Also had one more healthy child a few years after this experience.
posted by mermayd at 4:22 AM on March 19, 2015

I've had two. The first, I was scared and it hurt. Several people told me beforehand that it was no big deal...and yet, yes, it was a big deal. The doctor had a nurse there to hold my hand--that even scared me.

The second (different doctor--a woman), it hurt for just a quick second and then I was fine. (No nurse to hold my hand.) This one was especially important because I've been diagnosed with HPV 16--it's considered likely to cause cancer. So...yes...I was grateful to have to have the colposcopy just to make sure I didn't have cancer. I took my ipod and listened to music before and after--a nice way to calm down. The doctor "talked" me through it--telling me exactly what she was doing with each thing she needed to do. It wasn't as bad as I expected. The best part...and you may think this is silly...the doctor gave me a lollipop afterward. It was such a nice gesture...

Since then, all my pap smears have been fine. I expect one to go bad again in the future. I think it just happens. I won't be as afraid and I'll be happy to learn what's going on.

Try not to worry.
posted by byjingo! at 10:24 AM on March 19, 2015

Everyone has described the process well. I've had three over the past twenty years and apart from the anxiety of worrying about my health the actual colposcopy was not painful. I seem to be in the minority for this but I didn't need Advil or anything. Two times the doctors let me watch the screen and seeing my cervix was completely cool. Obviously YMMV but I hope you have no major discomfort either. But pap smears don't bother me either so take your experience with those as a gauge for your probable comfort level with the colposcopy.
posted by biggreenplant at 6:03 AM on March 20, 2015

Also, if you are still eligible for it, get the cervarix or gardasil vaccine. HPV in all its glory is so easy to pick up. I always used condoms and still managed to get it via skin contact.
posted by biggreenplant at 7:40 AM on March 20, 2015

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