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What happens when it’s an abnormal smear test

So you went for your smear test, got the letter in the post a few weeks later with your results and… there’s a problem. I hope yesterday’s post has show that statistically, things are in your favour. But what happens if you do have an abnormal result? This happened to my friend Jade a few years ago. I asked her to write a post for the blog:

Love this picture of Jade from earlier this year.

“It was just a routine smear test, I didn’t think anything of it at all. I’d never had a problem and felt fine before the test. Then I got the letter. It said that I had ‘abnormal’ cells and asked me to call ‘urgently’. That did make me a bit scared, I rang and the clinic asked me to come in to see them in two days time. I was pleased that they responded so fast but at the same time, felt really anxious — what if it was serious? I mean the NHS aren’t always so quick!

So, when I went in, I saw a specialist who examined me, she told me that I had prominent areas of abnormalities…  I did get a bit upset then, but she sat me down and explained everything to me. My specialist said that she wanted to treat me there and then with a LLETZ. I was encouraged to take some time to read through a leaflet which explained everything about the procedure and then ask questions.

Basically, a LLETZ is a ‘large loop excision of the transformation zone’ which sounds way more complicated than it actually is. The ‘transformation zone’ is the bit of me that had the abnormal cells and the ‘large loop excision’ is a what they were going to use to get rid of them.

I’ve probably got an average pain threshold and it really didn’t hurt. I think the idea of it was a lot worse than the reality. The specialist applied an anaesthetic gel to my cervix and that meant that I didn’t feel any of the injections that I got ‘up there’! Really – it was just a bit uncomfortable. It was all over pretty quickly as well. There was a smell of burning, which they’d warned me about, but was still pretty weird, apparently that was from a procedure that helps stop any bleeding.

One of my main concerns was that I’d heard that the procedure could affect me having children, but I was reassured that it would be OK.  I could walk and sit down afterwards, I was so surprised that it didn’t really hurt – I was more emotional than in pain. I think, as a women, it was an emotional experience to go through, but I talked to friends and my partner, and it helped so much to know what was going on.

That was five years ago.

I have yearly smear tests since – and they’ve all been fine. I’ve never had any problems since. I’d gone from a normal clear smear to three years later discovering that I had what they call ‘CIN2′ moderate cell changes which, if left untreated could leave me at a high risk of cervical cancer. There were no signs at all, maybe just a bit of occasional discomfort with sex but not always, so I didn’t think anything was wrong. That test could have saved my life. I’d say to any women who miss their smear test, you’re crazy not to go.”

Find out more: Get good info, get informed, get tested…   

6 responses »

  1. That is the same thing as a LEEP in the States. I can’t believe they didn’t knock you out for it. I was put completely under but didn’t have to stay overnight in the hospital. Not sure I could have done it awake, my Colcoscopy about killed me :-)
    I am so glad that you are OK Jade.

    Reply
  2. I think the procedure sounds more disturbing that it actually is – i was upset and it lays you very bare so to speak – i did not mention to nikki there were also 3 students in the room! But I am very good at closing my eyes and taking myself to a nice beach in these situations! Very happy I had the smear and was so lucky they could deal with it

    Reply
  3. Hi honey
    I had the same procedure about 5 or 6 years ago (and still have to have to yearly smears which is a pain but worth it). I agree that it is more emotional than painful – I burst into tears at the end of the procedure – completely involuntarily however I think it was because a ‘bit of me’ had been burnt away.

    My doctor said I could watch the whole thing on a TV screen which I started to … but then it was just too weird and gross as it was all magnified (!), so I stopped watching it.

    Get regular smears ladies!

    Reply
    • You could WATCH?! You are kidding – can’t work out if that it “oooh!’ interesting or ‘Uuuurgh” gross. Glad to hear you’re doing well and thanks for the comment. X

      Reply
  4. Beth I had no idea you had it too – i cried too – it was very emotional as so “female”

    Reply

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