If your colposcopy detects unusual cells in the cervix, then the treatment needed to remove these cells will be suggested. Sometimes, there is a risk that these cells might become cancerous when not treated on time. Removing those means they won’t be able to turn into cancer.

The objective of the treatment is to remove abnormal cells while lessening the damage caused to healthy tissue. Normally, an area about the size of a fingertip needs to be removed.

When the treatment is done

The treatment to remove unusual cells from your cervix is performed at the same time as a colposcopy when it is quite obvious that some cells in your cervix are abnormal. But sometimes the procedure cannot be done on the same day at a colposcopy treatment clinic.

For example, you might have to wait till you get the biopsy result a few weeks later when it is not clear whether you have unusual cells in your cervix.

Different kinds of treatment

There are several ways how these abnormal cells can be removed you’re your cervix.

LLETZ

The most common treatment is large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ). It:

  • means to get rid of unusual cells with a thin wire loop that has been heated through electric current
  • can be done at the same time as colposcopy
  • is done when you are awake and local anaesthetic is injected into the cervix to numb it during the treatment
  • does not usually need an overnight to remain in the hospital

LLETZ is known as loop cone, loop biopsy, loop diathermy or loop excision.

Cone biopsy

A cone biopsy is performed less often than LLETZ. It:

  • is a minor operation to outline a cone-shaped piece of tissue that has abnormal cells
  • tends to be used only when a large area of the tissue need to be removed
  • cannot be done at the same time as colposcopy
  • is usually done under general anaesthetic where you remain asleep
  • might require an overnight to stay in the hospital

Other treatments

If there are unusual cells in your cervix, then this might be treated with:

  • cryotherapy – these unusual cells get frozen and destroyed for treating minor cell cells
  • laser treatment – the laser is being used to pinpoint and destroy abnormal cells on the cervix
  • cold coagulation – a heat source is applied to your cervix so that it can burn away abnormal cells
  • hysterectomy (removal of the womb) – this needs to be considered only when abnormal cells on the cervix are found.

After the treatment

You are generally advised to prevent:

  • driving for at least 24 hours in case you had anaesthetic. You may drive straight away when local anaesthetic was being used
  • use menstrual cups or tampons for 4 weeks
  • enjoy sex for 4 weeks
  • exercise that include swimming, for at least 2 weeks or while there is any discharge or bleeding

You are advised to get another cervical screening test done within 6 months after the treatment. This will help to detect for abnormal cells and  human papilloma virus or HPV. If HPV had not been found, then you should be screened again for another 3 years. However, if HPV or cell changes are found, then you will be asked to undergo another colposcopy.

Risk factors

Common risk factors of the treatment are the following:

  • mild pain which is similar to period pain. This should pass within a few hours and can be relieved by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • light vaginal bleeding and watery vaginaal discharge which might last for upto 4 weeks

There is a small risk of serious complications such as:

  • an infection – this may lead to persistent or heavy bleeding, smelly vaginal discharge and stomach aches. It is advised to visit a private GP in case you detect any of these symptoms
  • slightly increased risk of premature birth in future pregnancies. This will probably be when you require repeated treatments or lots of tissues need to be removed

Mostly, the benefits of the treatment will outweigh these risks. You need to talk to a doctor or nurse at the private colposcopy clinic in London in case you are having any concerns or want to know more about the probable risks of the treatment.