Cervical sreening and colposcopy
The National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP) recommends that women between the ages of 25 and 49, have a cervical smear every 3 years and between the ages of 50 and 65, every 5 years. One of the problems with cervical screening is that smears only detect 7 out of 10 abnormalities at best. For this reason, some women prefer to undergo cervical screening every year. We offer a cervical screening service where your smear can be examined in the usual way and can also be tested for HPV. In fact, the same sample can also be screened for chlamydial infection, which is a common infection amongst sexually active women which may be ‘silent’ yet cause future problems with chronic pain and fertility.
If a smear result is abnormal, that is, it has detected a pre-cancerous change of the cervix, it is necessary to undergo an examination called colposcopy. This involves the close examination of the cervix through a colposcope (which is like a pair of binoculars mounted on a stand) and is rather similar to having a smear taken. If an abnormality is found we can offer treatment which, in most cases, can be performed in the examination room, under local anaesthetic and 95% of women are cured by a single treatment.
There are some normal variations of the cervix which can cause bleeding after intercourse, bleeding between menstrual periods and vaginal discharge. These can often be easily treated by cervical cautery, performed under local anaesthetic.