Age 23 – Colposcopies, Pre and Post LEEP

This is the cervix of the 23 year old woman who has no history of STIs and has never been pregnant.  She underwent two colposcopies due to abnormal precancerous cells being found on her pap smear results.  Once the speculum is inserted, the doctor uses a colposcope (like binoculars) to illuminate and magnify the inside of the vagina and cervix so s/he can see what is not visible with the naked eye.  Sometimes vinegar or iodine is sprayed or swabbed onto the cervix; these solutions will react with irregular cells and change their appearance/color, so s/he can detect the tissue that is of  concern.  S/he may also take a biopsy, or tissue sample, from the surface of the cervix or endocervical canal (slightly inside the os) to send to the lab for further testing. 

During Colposcopy

This photo was taken during her first colposcopy after abnormal cells were found in her pap smear results.  A biopsy confirmed abnormal cells and so a LEEP procedure was preformed to remove the abnormal tissue 3 months later.



2 months after the LEEP procedure, this woman had a Paraguard IUD inserted as birth control.  About 6 months later, her doctor performed another colposcopy (photographed here) because her pap smear again showed abnormal results. 

11 thoughts on “Age 23 – Colposcopies, Pre and Post LEEP

  1. I thought I’d leave this comment here for anyone who’s trying to find more info about colposcopy. I’m 30 and had a ASCUS/HPV+ Pap last month, so I had to have a colposcopy. I also have a lot of sensitivity in that area — Pap smears are always uncomfortable for me, and I have passed out and thrown up from IUD insertion and removal.

    The colposcopy was not as bad as I was afraid of, but it still was quite unpleasant. I took 2 mg of Xanax and 800 mg ibuprofen beforehand, which I think did help somewhat (especially the Xanax). The vinegar solution really stung quite badly, especially when my GYN had to use a big swab to clear away excess vinegar and cervical mucus. Other especially awful moments included an endocervical curettage and a biopsy. Do not let them deceive you into thinking that the biopsy will just feel like a little pinch. It does not feel like a “little pinch”, it feels exactly like what it is — someone cutting part of your cervix off without anesthesia. It also took about 5 minutes for the bleeding to stop even after she applied the Monsell’s solution. Afterward I was cramping and raw, and all I could do was go home and try to sleep for the rest of the day. I also bled through an entire overnight pad in the space of 2 hours. Today it hurts all the time, it hurts even more to sit, stand, or walk, and it also hurts to urinate or to move my legs. If you have to have this procedure, try to schedule it for a Friday afternoon so you don’t have to sit at a desk in agony all day the next day.

    This was the most painful medical procedure I can imagine myself enduring without anesthesia. If I ever have to have another, or a LEEP procedure, and they won’t give me general anesthetic, I will refuse the procedure even though I could get cancer. If a man was going to have a piece of his penis cut off, they’d give HIM anesthesia — why does our pain count for so much less?


    Rosie Reply:

    are you trying to scare people? in my opinion you are being really OTT and going to put people off receieving treatment.

    I had these procedures and they are no painful you just feel uncomfortable

    Come on ladies lets be strong women – at the end of the day this is saving our lives


  2. I am about to go in for a LEEP procedure (today!) and am wondering about anyone’s experience with using primrose oil afterwards to reduce the presence of potential scar tissue. How often to take it internally? How long to wait to apply it externally (directly onto the cervix) after the LEEP?

    Would appreciate any advice!
    Thank you.


    Dawn Reply:

    This reply is obviously really late, but hoping for anyone else who reads this – do NOT apply anything in there post-LEEP. My docs office doesn’t even want me taking a bath for 4 weeks. The risk of infection is not worth it.


  3. I just had a LEEP performed under general anesthesia -best decision ever. Easy sedation process and I was relieved to not feel or remember any of it! Kat, I completely agree that the colposcopy is so much more than “a little pinch”. Maybe our cervices are more sensitive, but so be it. If you need a LEEP, your doc should allow the option of sedation/general anesthesia. My docs office in NJ says about 50% of their patients opt for that, so it is by no means an unusual request. Best wishes!


  4. I have the highest tolerance to pain of anyone I know and this was the most barbaric procedure I’ve ever had in my entire life! The results from the biopsies came back positive for cancer but I know nothing will be any where near as painful as this was!

    I totally agree with Kat. If a man had to endure anything like this they would have to be put under. I’d NEVER do it again with anesthesia or an epidural, EVER!!!!!!!!!!


  5. I have undergone 4 copo’s (colposcopy), and while they are uncomfortable, unpleasant, and yes, painful, everyone has different experiences. I have had abnormal results due to HPV+ with two separate incidences. The first, 15 years ago, resulted in a laser ablation as my type was high risk and my doctor did not advise allowing my body to attempt to resolve on it’s own. My last positive and copo were now three years ago. As I have yet to have any children, even though my type was high risk, the cell presence was not such that my doctor wanted to rush to another procedure, and further pose possible risk to my ability to get pregnant (I have various other circumstances as well as family history of fertility issues as well as stillbirths and my own miscarriage thus far). Two years was how long he gave me, and we checked regularly. My HPV thus far has gone dormant on it’s own, though I will continue to get checked annually and bi-annually as needed.

    In all my cases, I am allergic to lidocane and thus had to undergo the procedure without any local anesthetic at all. It is uncomfortable. It does hurt. In internal is by far the most painful. You do feel the snipping. The first time sucked, I had been raped which was how I contracted the HPV, and was 18 when I underwent my first copo. I had no idea what to expect, and that little pinch was BS! A firm pinch of the back of your arm, pinching little flesh would probably be the best I could describe it. It’s surprising how much tissue was actually removed. However, if it is advised, don’t postpone!

    I work on my breathing exercises and bring my earbuds and listen to music to help me cope with my anxiety. Don’t feel like you have to be a tough rock — it’s OK to cry if you need to… it’ll help you relax so long as you don’t get hysterical.. I let those tears FLOW, but I breathe, and keep my mouth open (open up and go aaahh! lol) which also helps relax everything down there. I thought my doctor was nuts, but it did help.

    It’s going to hurt no matter what… but I know it’s temporary, it’s necessary, and the cramping after is also temporary. Bleeding I think will depend on the person… I personally had very little bleeding, and was only uncomfortable internally and crampy for the rest of the day and a little in to the next.

    I plan on getting on board here… after everything my poor cervix and I have been through… I think it’s high time we get acquainted!!


  6. That is EXACTLY how I felt; and thought they would never take a cutting from a males penis without more pain regulation. It’s absolutely absurd to have this done the way they make you do it. It was worse than giving birth to me. Worst pain of my life.


  7. I guess everyone has a different experience with their colposcopy. I had mine today and it was totally fine. I could hardly feel any of it at all! The biopsy part felt more like a touch than a pinch. So as to let everyone out there know it might not be too bad 🙂


  8. If you bleed like Kat above, you should go to the ER.

    You know your procedure is coming, make absolute sure you are full if protein and are not anemic.Do not take aspirin,fish oils, or anything else that can thin your blood.

    Make sure you can rest afterwards. Spotting is ok but not much more than that.


  9. For anyone who may come across this, I have had a few colposcopies and a LEEP. Speaking for myself as well as many of other women, the experience above is not the norm. Yes, the procedure is understandably uncomfortable, but typically they do numb the cervix. There can be some mild cramping and the pinch of course. I had some cramping afterwards, but nothing that some Motrin couldn’t control. The next day, I was fine. I have known many ladies to return to work directly after. Even the LEEP was decidedly less painful than I had anticipated, but the bleeding lasted a few weeks.


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