53 Comments

  1. I do hope all goes well, Faith, and will certainly be sending positive, healing thoughts your way. You’re young and healthy and all you can do is make an informed decision and do what you think is best for YOU. Sharing your story is an honest and brave thing to do.

  2. Sorry to hear you’re going through this, Faith! I had an abnormal result once and it was very stressful, but was resolved the next time I got a PAP. Sending you my best wishes…

  3. barbara

    I think you are doing the right things: being informed, being proactive, and taking excellent care of yourself. Good luck.

  4. Thank you for sharing, Faith — it takes a lot of bravery to share something personal like this. But good for you for being proactive, doing your research, and doing what’s best for your body. I wish you all the best of luck and will be thinking positive thoughts for you!

  5. Oh I feel your pain, girl! I’ve had abnormal paps (mixed in with some normal ones) for a few years now. I’ve also had the colposcopy…so not fun — ugh! There’s definitely a correlation to well-being. When things are stressful and unhealthy in my life, that’s when I seem to get abnormal results. I hope all goes well for you. You’re right, it’s very common. Good luck!

    • gracefulfitness

      It’s crazy how sensitive our immune system is to stress and fluctuations in overall well-being!
      Sorry to hear you’ve dealt with this too, the shit’s stressful!

  6. Jodie

    Thamk you Faith–i am thinking of you and sending my love during this process. I appreciate your bravery sharing all this, as you know i am going On my fifth year fluctuating between CIN 1 & CIN 2 And look forward to integrating Folic Acid And selenium into mu diet more And
    More. You never cease to inspire me!

  7. Thank you for sharing this. It’s one of those things that makes you feel so alone and helpless, but it really is common! I had to have that procedure a few years ago, and while it was painful, I felt better within days and my immune system rebounded like you wouldn’t believe in the months that followed.

    I know it’s scary, but it sounds like you’re in super in-tune with your body and making the right decisions for you : )

      • Yeah—I think it was every three months for the first 6 months or so, then I went every six months for three years. Now I just go once a year and so far so good, fingers crossed : )

  8. Sarah

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while but haven’t commented before (so hi!), but just wanted to say that I have had that procedure too (in the UK though). It was rather uncomfortable but not hugely painful and I didn’t have much discomfort afterwards either. The anasthetic did make feel slightly drunk though so I was grateful that I had my sister there to take me for tea and a big slice of chocolate cake afterwards (it definitely helped!).
    Hope it all goes ok tomorrow, I’m sure it will.

    • gracefulfitness

      Thanks so much for commenting and sharing Sarah. I am braced for pain and hope that it isn’t as bad as I anticipate. I thought I had a high pain threshold but the colpo hurt! Maybe it’s because it’s CIN3 or maybe it’s just because it’s a really sensitive (emotionally and physically!) spot. In any case, I really appreciate hearing that it wasn’t that bad.

      Tate is going with me and we both have the rest of the day off for cake and tea. 🙂

  9. Kati

    Hi Faith – I’ve never really commented before, but I wanted to let you know that I had the exact same diagnosis about two years ago. Went through the colposcopy, found out I had CIN3, like you, and then had a LEEP in December of 2009. The LEEP wasn’t pleasant, but honestly it hurt less than the colpo! The worst part about the LEEP is getting the numbing shots…after that, it was pretty quick and painless, for me at least. Fast forward to now – I have had pap smears every 6 months and they’re all coming back normal! It feels great. Thanks for the info on selenium and folic acid – I didn’t realize that. Anyway – best of luck to you!!!! Hope everything goes ok and you’re getting a clean bill of health six months from now!

    • gracefulfitness

      Thanks so much for sharing Kati, especially since you also had CIN3. At this point I am just looking forward to getting it over with and moving on, hopefully to healthy and full term pregnancies in the not to far future.
      Did you take it easy afterward? I always get very concerned about infection risk, etc., and plan on only light exercise and no baths, tampons, or sex for a month….did your doc mention any of this?

      • Kati

        Hmmm..I think my doctor said no sex or tampons for a week – but I can’t remember! I’m pretty sure I exercised within a few days…the recovery was much easier than from the colpo, probably because the wound is instantly cauterized.

  10. Yes, I’ve had a colpo biopsy before and it didn’t feel great, but it wasn’t terrible either. Mostly, it was a very emotionally traumatizing experience. My results came back fine, but I do have to monitor it every six months for the next year. Just hoping the cells never move on to the C word. Hang in there, faith.

  11. K

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I had an abnormal pap smear about a year and a half ago, and I’m (past) due for another exam. So this is a good kick in the pants. I’ve been avoiding it, I think. I have had a number of issues with that area of the body and I think I’m almost afraid to find out what’s going on. I’m a little terrified that I’ll end up being infertile. Anyway…

    Thank you for all of the information in your post. This give me someplace to start.

    • gracefulfitness

      I totally understand, I put it off a little longer than suggested (almost two years between paps) because I had a lot of anxiety over finding out if things were still out of whack. It’s an incredibly stressful issue, especially if you are interested in still using those reproductive parts! BUT we must remember that, like Rosie commented on, stress is part of the problem! When our bodies are strong and not under stress they can usually handle this sort of thing, clear the abnormal cells and continue on normally. As disappointing/annoying/stressful/fearful as my situation has been, it has also taught me that I need to manage my stress and never forget the serious implications that it can have on the body.
      That was a bit rambly but what I want to say is that if NOT getting a pap is causing you stress and anxiety than it’s probably worth taking the next step and getting checked out.
      Sending you lots of love and happy cervix thoughts!

      • K

        🙂 Thank you so much for replying. The stress issue is an excellent point. I’m very prone to getting stressed out in general, but especially about the coming pap smear. I’ve been working on dealing with stress in a healthier way and this is just more encouragement to keep on. Hopefully things will just keep improving for both of us. Lots of love to you too!

  12. Lissa

    Best to you Faith, thank you for sharing….life is so much better when we face our personal difficulties. I think it opens the door to goodness and healing.

  13. I had a similar experience in 2005 — the abnormal paps, the colposcopy, the research. I talked with a bunch of friends and it came out that one had abnormal paps every time she was under unusual amounts of stress. I had been under a lot of stress at that time, my immune system was not strong. Before I did any additional proceedure, I wanted to take some time to see if there was something to the stress theory and if I could “fix” it myself. I started taking Noni juice…I think this is available at Whole Foods these days?? Noni juice and yoga. When I went back for my follow up, my pap was clear — the doctor was in disbelief. And it’s been clear ever since. However we get to where we are and however we get through it, sharing our experiences in hopes of passing some wisdom on to others, is huge. Thanks for your courage to share the details. Very best wishes to you on your journey!

    • gracefulfitness

      Christy, thanks so much. I fully believe that stress has played a huge roll in getting me where I am today (with a leep scheduled tomorrow). In an effort to see the silver lining I believe the lesson in all of this is that I need to be under less stress! I am learning cultivate an attitude of “not sweating the small stuff (it’s all small stuff)”. I really appreciate hearing that you followed your instinct, sometimes I feel like the docs don’t know a whole lot about this cervical dysplasia stuff and that their only tool is to cut it out and hope for the best.
      Thanks again!

  14. Christa

    Thank you for sharing this, Faith. I am overdue for my own annual (pushing bi-annual at this point :/ ) exam and this is definitely a good kick in the pants to get my ass to the doctor. Sending healing thoughts your way!

  15. Good luck today Faith! Thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s great how much research you have done to make your decision, and to be as healthy as possible.

  16. Faith – thank you so much for sharing this. I have never had to deal with this particular issue but if I had to, it is good to be able to read someone’s first hand account. I am not dealing with this exact issue but another medical issue that is quite common and not talked about at the amount due to it – chronic, high levels of heavy metals. I am trying to share through my blog my first hand account of my journey first to find out what was wrong with me and then how I’m dealing with it. i hope I can help someone, even just one person, by writing about my personal issues with metals. I am sure that you writing about your experience is helping many other women that are or will have to confront this issue.

    Thanks again.

    • gracefulfitness

      I look forward to checking out your blog. I am really grateful for the blogospere as a resource and community and if I can add to that in a positive way by writing about my experience I’m happy to share. Best wishes on finding your healthiest self!

  17. Valerie

    Faith,

    Firstly, I want to say thank you for sharing this deep personal/heartwrenching occurance. I just turned 26 and got my first abnormal pap ever, which resulted in the need of a coloscopy and a biopsy ( 4 samples). I have also been searching the web for information and also for some type of comfort and hope. Issues with the reproductive system does run in my family, in fact both of my half sisters have had procedures done, one had a full hysterectomy and the other just 6 months ago had her uterus removed. Now, with that being said I’m sure the anxiety and worry I feel are well placed. Reading your story has given me some type of strength and insight. Thank you! Wishing you all the health & happiness in the world.

    • gracefulfitness

      Valerie,
      First, thank you so much for writing. I was hesitant to share my story but it ended up being a very cathartic experience and getting the feedback that it helped you, in whatever small way, makes me know it was the right thing for me to do.
      It’s a huge challenge to deal with any health issues but I think that reproductive ones, especially at our ages, is particularly difficult. One thing that has helped me is to allow a little self-pity but to make sure to balance it with lots of gratitude. I appreciate your story as much as you appreciate mine, thanks again. Keep breathing, remain grateful for the health you do have, and take excellent care of yourself, body, mind, and spirit! Lots of love.

  18. Aimee

    I am so glad I found this post while looking through your blog. In my mid twenties I too had abnormal pap results which more investigation revealed abnormal cells. I had a successful LEEP and spent the next few years getting paps every 6 months. Everything was fine until one came back abnormal and another colposcopy  showed abnormal cells again. The doctor I was seeing at the time strongly advised me to have a Cryo procedure. I was researching alternative and homeopathic treatments and told the doctor and she made me fearful that it would not be as complete a solution and I should have the Cryo. I did, despite my hesitations, and I regretted not standing up for my own beliefs and body. I dumped that doctor and now see one who I trust and who listens to me. The Cryo was successful and I’m happy to report I’ve had normal paps ever since. I am concerned about the state of my  cervix after the 2 different procedures and am going to talk to my doctor about it. Thank you Faith for sharing your experience and creating space for this conversation.                               

  19. N D K V

    I came across your site after googling ‘cervical dysplasia and the pill.’ 8 mos ago, at 32, I had my first abnormal pap. My obgyn, seeing that I had high risk hpv that hadn’t cleared in a year, decided to do a cautionary colposcopy and found high grade (CIN III) cervical dysplasia. I was referred to a well known obgyn oncologist and had a LEEP shortly after.

    Immediately after the diagnosis of high grade dysplasia, I did research and stopped taking the pill. I also added folic acid tablets into my daily routine. My diet has always been good, but from the research I read, I wanted to give it an even better shot at clearing the pre-cancer.

    Last week, I had my first post-leep PAP. The results were normal. Obviously I will need to get paps every 6 mos for an undefined period of time – BUT I have no plans to go back on the pill.

    Just wanted to share my story! Best of luck to everyone here!

    • gracefulfitness

      Thanks for sharing and kudos for making some changes right away! Did you read my post on food supplements for cervical dysplasia? Not suggesting you follow my plan but you may want to do your own research on some of it, like selenium. Best, best wishes for ‘normal’follow ups!!

  20. Aleigh

    Hi Faith! I’m new to your blog but I came across this post when looking up options for cervical dysplasia. I have had abnormal paps for nearly 2 years and recently moved and changed MDs. We had been “wait and see” during this time, but my recent pap came back abnormal and my new MD says its time to remove the cells via leep. I’m 26 with no kids but would like to in the somewhat near future. I feel i have tried the natural methods as much as i can were i live. There are no Naturopathic doctors in my area. I’m a healthy vegetarian and have taken supplements for several months now. I worry about doing the leep and my ability to conceive or carry full term. Since your procedure have you learned any more about the rate of problems after this procedure. I really appreciate you sharing your story. Even though I know this is common I sometimes feel very alone in my diagnosis. Thanks again for your help!

    • gracefulfitness

      Hi,
      Thanks for writing. My understanding is that the main concern is with scar tissue on the cervix. My mother-in-law and my good friend are both midwives and said that they have seen many women give birth naturally after these procedures, occasionally requiring some (painful) “massage” to help break up the tissue. Neither of them felt like it was a high risk or major concern. As far as getting pregnant, I’ve heard mostly positive personal stories.
      The LEEP itself is painful and the physical recovery is uncomfortable (some discomfort and lots of stinky discharge), for me it lasted 4-5 weeks. I don’t want to make your more nervous but I want to give you a heads up. Some people have had an easier time with it and others a much harder. The emotional stress really lifted after my 3 month pap follow up came back clear and by 6 months post LEEP I finally felt like it wasn’t regularly weighing heavy on my heart and mind. Now, 15 months after, I no longer have an emotional reaction to thinking about all of it and it’s not on the forefront of my thoughts when I think about getting pregnant.
      I wish you all the best and if you feel comfortable sharing, I would be interested in hearing about your experience with the LEEP.
      Lots of love,
      Faith

  21. Angela

    Dear Faith,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it helped me so much when I was going through a similar experience. I find pap tests extremely painful, so I tried to do everything in my power to avoid any invasive surgical intervention.

    I have been diagnosed with borderline cervical cell changes and they found evidence of high risk HPV at my 3 yearly pap test. Looking back, I am almost certain it was caused by stress.

    I am a healthy 43 year old, exercising dance 4 times a week and trying to eat as much organic produce as possible. To heal myself naturally I have taken the following supplements : Indole 3 carbinol, multivitamins and minerals, cod liver oil with vitamin A, garlic tables, folic acid, spirulina and drank Pau d’arco, Echinacea and green tea daily. Stopped the birth control pill I was on for 20 years. I have done a healing meditation before sleep daily, and was lucky enough to have my mum believing that I can heal myself and trusting me and my body’s abilities. She kept on reminding me of this time and time over again.

    I had a colposcopy two months after my initial diagnosis and my results came back all clear with no HPV infection. I will have a follow up pap smear in 6 months’ time.

    I am sharing my experience in case it will help other ladies out there faced with the same challenges.

    Lots of love and positive energy.

    • gracefulfitness

      Thank you so much for sharing. I am thrilled to hear about your clear report and your willingness/ability to be really pro-active with your body and your health, that’s awesome!!
      Best wishes and lots of love,
      Faith

  22. Vanessa

    Hello,

    I came across your blog while researching cervical dysplasia. I’m 25 years old, no children and I was diagnosed one year ago with low grade HPV and was told it would go away and to return in a year for another pap. I had my annual and it came back as slightly worse, so I took it upon myself to go for a second opinion and thank god I did! I had to have another colposcopy and my doctor took several samples and it came back as severe cervical dysplasia. I am scheduled for the LEEP next week and I am so nervous about the outcome. I’m so glad I found this blog with so many great reccomendations. I am a firm believer that proper nutrition, stress management, and staying active is the key to fighting something like this.

    • gracefulfitness

      Vanessa,
      My heart goes out to you that you are in the middle of all of it right now. Each experience is different but for me it was a really difficult and stressful thing to deal with and the physical and emotional repercussions lasted quite a while but they did fade over time. I don’t want to scare you, just to give you perspective, especially since it seems doctors often tend to downplay this experience.
      If you feel like sharing anything about your procedure or recovery, please feel free to comment again (you can also do this anonymously if you’d prefer for any reason). The experiences vary SO much that I think its really helpful for women to share with each other and it can be healing to open up and talk about it.
      Best wishes for an easy LEEP and swift and full recovery!!
      Faith

  23. Jennz

    Hi,
    Im so new to this, i just found out in september that i have savear cervical dysplasia. Just had a leep done a week ago, it wasent to bad but i would never want to do it again. Iv been reading what you guys all had tried with the vitamins and suppliments. I was wondering what to take and how much n where to buy the best kind. All this stuff is so confusing and i just want to be healthy and happy again!

  24. Anonymous

    I’m really glad I found this site – I have been crying for the past week after I had a pap come back abnormal and a biopsy come back severe. My Mom was a DES daughter, but everyone has told me being a DES granddaughter has nothing to do with it. Somehow thinking it might makes me feel a little better, as if it wasn’t something I did to myself (even though I know that’s a terrible way to think – I can’t help it!) My last pap was in July 2012 (2 years ago) and was totally normal so I just feel like this diagnosis has totally hit me from left field. I have also been on birth control pills since I was 10 (for heavy periods), and am 24 now. I still haven’t refilled my prescription for this month’s Birth Control, and after reading about the folic acid deficiency I am actually angry at my Dr’s Nurse for telling me it was fine to refill.

    I have also had acupuncture for stress, and have gotten other vitamins I am hoping can help. Has anyone taken B12 or B9 in combination with folic acid? Are there any specific Chinese herbs I can recommend to my acupuncturist? (Yes I’m already going to one!)

    Thankful for support sites like this!!!!!!

  25. Alicia

    Hi.
    My story starts about 11 months ago when I went for my routine pap smear, assuming that everything would come back normal, as it always has. My husband and I were just married and we both want to be parents very badly. We decided to hold off on trying until after our honeymoon. About 2 weeks after my exam, my doctors office called me and told me I had traces of HPV and abnormal cells, and had to go back for a colposcopy. Thankfully I have a very supportive husband who dealt with me as I lashed out at him, blamed him for my condition, and used him as my personal punching bag while dealing with my anxiety. I know it wasn’t necessarily him that I contracted it from, as my doctor said my body already fought it off, but he could see that I did have it. After the colposcopy, my doctor called back to say that I had high grade abnormal cells and there are 2 options: treatment with Cervugid Ovules and Isoprinosine Tablets or LEEP procedure. I have a great doctor who takes extra steps to ensure his patients are fully informed. He brought me in about 2 weeks ago to give me all the information I needed. My main concern is that the LEEP procedure and/or the dysplasia will affect my fertility so i started the treatment CERVUGID (vaginal suppositories) + ISOPRINOSINE (antiral oral use) first and if the treatment will not work for me to do this LEEP. Seeing people put up pictures of their sonograms on social network makes my eyes well up with tears. It is not that I am not happy for them, it is the thought that this condition may prevent me from having that. I am just a ball of emotions and anxiety and I just have no idea how to handle it all. My husband although supportive, does get upset by seeing me upset and I am trying my absolute best. My doctor says he doesn’t see any reason why I should not be able to have a baby, but the unknown is still unbelievably scary.
    Doctor told me that treatment will cure abnormal cells and it lasts about 9 months to complete full cycle of treatment.
    After several months of completing treatment i came back to be retested. They did again Pap test, Colpo and HPV test. All the tests now came back normal and since then I’m free of HPV.
    This doctor really saved my life.
    Without my husband’s support I do not think I’d be able to go through this experience.

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