Since writing the first article on how I healed from cervical dysplasia (CIN 2) I’ve received probably close to a thousand responses. I thought it would be a good idea to give you guys an update. In that time I’ve had two healthy, gorgeous boys. I’ve also had a several abnormal paps.
I’ve bounced around from gynecologists because I haven’t yet, after 15 years of getting pap smears, found a gyno that I fully feel comfortable with and trust. This is incredibly important. This person has intimate knowledge of your vagina people! You should at the very least feel comfortable and have trust in them.
The most recent abnormal pap was when I was pregnant with my second and showed low grade cells. My obstetrician suggested a colposcopy with a different doctor who would do colposcopies on pregnant women. I later found out she was recommending me to another doctor because he had just moved to the area and was not a specialist at administering colposcopies to pregnant women, she was just trying to help him build his practice. You can bet I was done with her once she delivered my son.
Because my first son was so premature, I absolutely refused a colpo. I wasn’t concerned with low grade cells and I told the OB that my previous HPV tests were negative. She said, “That’s why we need to do the colposcopy. To make sure you don’t have cancer.”
Those were her exact words to me. When I was pregnant. As if I wasn’t already stressed enough.
I knew that after she delivered my son, I would be switching gynos. It wasn’t personal, she’s a nice person, but I don’t want to be talked to like that. Not to mention that low grade cells are absolutely NOT indicative of cancer, much less low grade cells with no HPV! It was completely absurd. As a medical professional, she should have known that. And maybe she did and we got our wires crossed. Either way, I was not accepting of that kind of fear mongering.
After having my son, Storm (you can read his birth story here), I got a referral for a new gynecologist from my primary care doctor. She told me this new gyno was great and that I’d love her.
Right off the bat I didn’t feel a connection. I kept making little jokes that she kept misunderstanding and we were interrupting each other – it was just awkward. You might be thinking this isn’t relevant when looking for a doctor but think about it this way:
This person is someone you will have an intimate relationship with. He or she will touch, look and feel inside of your vagina. You will tell them intimate, descriptive details you wouldn’t even tell your partner.
They should be someone you are 100% comfortable with, someone you trust. Someone who listens to you, respects you and understands where you’re coming from. If they’re not, look for a new doctor!
I found the new doctor pleasant and competent, but not exactly someone I could see using as my long-term gyno. This became even more apparent when she insisted I had HPV.
I told her that I had abnormal cells while pregnant but I thought it could just be due to cervical changes during pregnancy. She told me this wasn’t possible and that only HPV causes cervical dysplasia. I told her I had previously been tested and it came back negative. She told me it was a false negative.
“You have HPV, there’s just no way you don’t. That’s the only thing that would cause these abnormal cells.”
Ladies, if your doctor tells you this, they do not know what they’re talking about. While HPV absolutely causes the majority of abnormal cells on the cervix, it is not the only thing that causes abnormal cells on the cervix.
Had I been less educated on this topic, I would have left her office thinking I had HPV, I had abnormal cells and I was on my way to cervical cancer. I would have been hysterically crying like I did when I was 23 and found out I had abnormal cells. That’s how she treated the situation. She didn’t tell me that low grade cells mostly resolve on their own. She didn’t tell me my immune system would like get rid of the cells. She told me I definitely had HPV and we would likely see abnormal cells on the pap, then follow up with a colposcopy.
A week later, my results were in. Normal pap smear and no HPV. None. A completely negative HPV test.
There was no apology for insisting I had HPV, nothing.
So many women have reached out telling me how stressed they are because their doctor found low grade cells. Ladies, this is incredibly common and most will resolve on their own!
It sickens me how many gynecologists tell women they basically have pre-cancer, with no context or further information. They terrify women, they encourage them to surgically remove low-grade cells that would likely resolve on their own. One woman even told me her doctor recommended a full hysterectomy for CIN II. That’s insane.
Ladies, please do you research. Abnormal cells are not a death sentence. Always find out which strains of HPV you have, or if you even have it. Strains 16 and 18 are the ones that have been shown to cause cancer. Research as much as you can about HPV and cervical dysplasia because it’s up to you to take charge of your health and empower yourself.
In my experience, not many doctors have been incredibly knowledgable about cervical dysplasia and HPV. Almost all of them have insisted I have HPV, almost none of them knew that majority of cells, especially low grade cells, resolve on their own with no complications.
Doctors are human. They are not omnipotent, all-knowing Gods. They make mistakes, they can’t possibly keep up with all of the latest research, many are overworked and mistakes happen. Find a doctor you trust and who treats you respectfully. Slways empower yourself with your own research.
You’ve got this.
Lots of love sisters!