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Can they deny you pain relief/anaesthetic for colposcopies and biopsies?

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Can they deny you pain relief/anaesthetic for colposcopies and biopsies?

I was referred for colposcopy in March after receiving abnormal smear results.

The actual results themself don't worry me, as I know it is highly treatable if it even is anything. However, I have been very upset anticipating the procedure itself. 

My doctor was quite dismissive when explaining my smear results and simply said colposcopies were to 'take a closer look at the abnormal cells and treat them', but mentioned nothing about exactly what that would involve (it would have been nice to know that they might take a chunk out of your cervix)

I am now absolutely horrified to find out that biopsies are usually taken without any kind of anaesthetic or pain relief. Sedatives and anaesthetics are given to those undergoing colonoscopies and cystoscopies, but not for women having colposcopies? This just seems totally unethical to me, as the procedure itself is so invasive and I've heard can be quite traumatic and painful for a lot of women.

Having my IUD fitted was painful enough (despite them telling me it wouldn't be) and, it might sound dramatic but I often get flashbacks from that procedure because of how traumatising it was and I don't want to go through any unnecessary or avoidable pain again.

I called the hospital and spoke to them about getting local anaesthetic and they basically said it was up to the doctor to decide on the day whether they think anaesthetic is necessary. I obviously want to get the biopsy, if needed, but am not willing to do it without Local.

Has anyone else here felt the same or had anaesthetic denied on the day because it was deemed 'unnecessary'?



Nick Nak

I had a biopsy done about 3 years ago and had silver nitrate and a polyp removed. it is uncomfortable but definitely didn't need anesthetic. I think if there needed to be a more invasive treatment then they would put u to sleep. But the general looking, biopsy's and some treatments are ok and manageable. 



I have recently gone through a colposcopy for HPV and borderline changes and want to spread awareness about the pain relief options that are available as I don’t think it’s talked about enough that some women like me find these procedures extremely painful.

I found my last smear unbearably painful and was therefore terrified about my colposcopy, the thought of that pain going on for longer I doubted whether they would even be able to do it.

I went to my GP who was very understanding, sounds like you may have just had a bad experience. I was prescribed diazapam to take before the colposcopy (as psychologically I felt so upset from the smear I knew I would tense up and make it worse), I was also prescribed vafigem pessaries to take every night a week before to help with the pain. When I arrived to the colposcopy she also used numbing cream before inserting the speculum. My main problem was that I tensed up so much because my bad experience it made it worse for me! 

I didnt have a biopsy so can’t comment on that but I understand you are usually offered a local anaesthetic, if you aren’t I would certainly ask if you find these procedures uncomfortable. 

I hope this helps, if you have any other questions please message me :)




I found the colposcopy way less uncomfortable than having the coil fitted, the two are not really comparable. 

The colposcopy is more like a smear. But i actually found it more comfortable than a smear because the practitioners do it all day long and so are much better at it than the nurse at the doctors surgery (who could never find my cervix!). The biopsies sting a bit, but the ammount of tissue they take is tiny and it was no more painful than the injection of local anaesthetic would have been. 

When I had silver nitrate treatment for a bleed I was able to use Entenox, I wonder if this might be a posibilty? It didnt really stop the pain but it allowed me to detach myself from what was going on.


  • 09/08/18. Positive smear - High grade (severe) dyskaryosis
  • 22/08/18. Colposcopy - CIN3
  • 14/09/18. Lletz - CIN3 with unclear margins
  • 07/12/18 Lletz  - CIN3 with unclear margins and VAIN3 
  • 14/01/19 MRI 
  • 29/01/19 PET-CT 
  • 15/02/19 scans indicate 2cm tumour
  • 26/02/19 RH (postponed due to virus)
  • 05/03/19 RH
  • 08/04/19 No evidence of malignancy

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Abnormal cervical cells and treatment

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