HPV abnormal smears

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Hi all,

Want to start by giving some background information...

Im currently 34 and have mainly had HPV picked up on most smears since having them. 8 years ago, i had a smear showing HPV, i was to be rescreened a year later but i was pregnant with my 2nd son. After i had him i went for my smear and abnormal cells were found, i had to have Lletz procedure. I had another smear a year later and finally had a clear result, no HPV and no abnormal cells so went back to 3 yearly screenings. Went for my routine smear in july 2022 and HPV was detected again and was called for another in July 2023. I was currently pregnant with my 3rd child at the time so couldnt attend, i had to have a cervical stitch placed at 21 weeks pregnant as my cervix was short from having the LLetz procedure. I gave birth in Decemeber and went for my postnatal checkup last week. The Dr had seen my previous history and given it had been 18 months since my HPV result she booked me in for my smear test for this Friday. 

She wanted to have a look at my cervix as i have been having pelvic and lower back pain, when she looked she said it looked red and there was blood/discharge sat there. She referred me for an urgent 2 week appt at the hospital. 

The hospital have called me today and want me in on Friday morning, will this just be a consultation or do you think they may actually do something on Friday? My partner was going to come with me but i said it may be a waste of his annual leave of they arent going to do anything there and then...

Has anyone got any advice on what i can expect to happen? 

Thanks

xx

  • Hi   and welcome to our group.

    It’s very hard for anyone to guess what might happen at the appointment-is it with a gynaecologist or colposcopy clinic for example? I was referred to a gynaecologist, so my first appointment involved discussing symptoms and then an examination. I asked my gynaecologist to do whatever he could at that appointment, so for me he did the physical examination of my cervix, saw a lesion he didn’t like, and took some biopsies. I had to return a week later for results. 

    I think it will depend on what is seen as to what will happen, so I think you won’t know until you’re there and talk to the doctor, but at the very least I would expect that your cervix will be examined. 

    I hope when you go it’s nothing serious and you get some reassurance.

    Sarah xx


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  • Hi Sarah, thank you for your reply. Its a gunaecologist i am seeing tomorrow. I am a little nervous. 

    Does anyone know why HPV keeps coming back? im not clued up about any of this and im concerned that if all is okay this time.(fingers crossed) will this keep happening where HPV is picked up and LLetz is performed again, can they keep doing LLetz treatment if needed? 

    I really have no idea what the process is...

    Thank you xx

  • Hi  

    I can understand why you’re nervous-I don’t think any of us like seeing a gynaecologist when we have to feel quite vulnerable in the chair with legs akimbo. I was always nervous too, and I’ve had many, many experiences of being in that position, quite literally!

    So, to try to answer some of your questions from what I have learned over the past few years (I was very ignorant of all this when I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer). Hpv is a virus which we pick up through skin to skin genital contact, and there is no cure so once you have it, the virus remains in your system.

    It can be active, when it can (but doesn’t necessarily) cause damage to cervical cells, or dormant and it is your own immune system which clears it (not cures it, but makes it dormant). You can have a positive hpv result but no abnormal cells. At times, perhaps when our immune system is not doing so well, it can become active again. So you could have a negative hpv result on one smear test, and a positive result on the next one. There is no way to know how long we have had the virus, and no way to know how we caught it. 

    It can lie dormant in your system for years and suddenly become active again, but something like 80% of people who have been sexually active will have it at some point in their lives. For most it causes no issues, and it doesn’t always mean it will cause cell damage and having it absolutely does NOT mean you will ever get cancer. The cervical screening programme should pick it up which means that abnormal cells, which are not cancer, can be dealt with if necessary by the LLETZ procedure. Then you should be monitored more closely to see that the LLETZ has been successful in removing all of the abnormal cells. 

    You can have more than one LLETZ procedure, but this cannot be done indefinitely-it will depend on now much of the cervix is removed each time, and so there is a limit on how many can be done.

    If the gynaecologist sees something at your appointment they don’t like the look of, they may take a biopsy there and then to be sent for testing. This for me was not painful, though I had some bleeding during and afterwards (but this was because my biopsies were taken from a tumour which was already bleeding). It’s very quick, and called a punch biopsy. You may want to have a pad or liner with you just in case. I’m not saying this would happen, and they may not need a punch biopsy, but I wish I’d been prepared!

    I hoped this has helped a little, and that your appointment goes smoothly tomorrow. To be honest, I was fine in there on my own for this appointment and if any biopsies are taken you have to wait for results, so there’s not much that can be done on the day. If you needed any form of treatment, I would expect this would be booked for another day.

    I hope you’ll let us know how you get on-I found the nurses in the clinic lovely, and very calming.

    Sarah xx


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  • Thank you so much for taking your time to explain all of that info to me! 

    I don't feel as nervous now, strange as i have had previous LLetz and given birth 3 times, so you would think im used to being messed with down there haha! 

    I will let you know how it goes tomorrow.

    Thank you again xx

  • Hiya, just an update. Had my appt this morning, she checked my cervix and confirmed it looked red ans it also bled when it was touched so they have referred me to colposcopy so it can be looked at in more detail with a camera, should hopefully have an appt within 2 weeks...so no further forward than what i was but atleast it is being looked into xx

  • Hi  

    Thanks for coming back with an update. It might be something straightforward like a cervical ectropian where the cells which normally grow inside the cervix grow on the outside-this looks red and can bleed on contact. But now you’re getting the colposcopy, they can have a closer look in more detail to see what’s going on. Try and put it on the back burner for now until you get your appointment and enjoy your weekend. 

    It’s hard sometimes not to worry about all of this, but I have learned over the years that it serves no purpose. It’s really hard not to worry, and I still do sometimes, but I do try not to before I know anything for certain. Let’s be hopeful it’s something straightforward for you.

    Sarah xx


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