Cervical Ectropion – My Re-Diagnosis

When I wrote my last Cervical Ectropion post way back in 2018, I really thought that would be the end of the matter. I was naive to think that I was fixed and there would be no more issues after giving birth to my daughter. When she was few months old I had a Mirena coil inserted and again had no issues for a year. The Mirena has a high percentage chance of stopping your periods altogether and although mine didn’t stop, I can only recall a handful of small bleeds over the space of a year. So my life gynae-related life had definitely improved! This was all until September where I started noticing that I was bleeding after sex. These bleeds would last for at least a week and sometimes almost two weeks. It was making me miserable and I was so anxious that my ectropion had returned after 16 months symptom free.

In October 2019 I finally had the letter that I had been longing to receive for a number of years. After 6 years of being told no, I finally received my invitation letter for my first legal smear test. I called and booked my test as soon as possible but it was a 6-week wait – which is probably the reason that a lot of women end up backing out nearer the time. It’s so easy to talk yourself out of something that you know is going to be uncomfortable and embarrassing but I cannot express the importance of these examinations. Within a week of booking my smear test I started to notice my bleeding getting worse and I started experiencing the uncomfortable pains that I hadn’t had since my pregnancy. I knew exactly what the problem was and I was counting down the days until my appointment and the next step in a journey that I thought had ended.

The morning of my smear test came and I felt okay, I was so ready to have it done and dusted and to have the opportunity to speak to the Nurse. Throughout my entire ectropion process I have been so fortunate to always see the same Nurse at my GP – which I know is extremely rare. She diagnosed my ectropion, helped me throughout my pregnancy, examined me after having Evangeline and gave me the good news that it had gone! She also fit my coil and did the follow-up appointments so I had just presumed that she would be the person doing my smear test. When I got to the Doctors a Nurse that I had never seen before met me. To her, I was just 24-year-old girl coming for her first smear test; she had no idea of years of anxiety/upset/trauma that I had been through. We started a discussion backtracking through the past 6 years of issues. Although this made me feel upset and it was difficult to open up to a stranger about, it actually really helped me feel more comfortable and reassured which I think made the smear test itself no way near as daunting.

When she inserted the speculum she told me straight away that my ectropion was back, unfortunately when they swab with an ectropion it breaks down a layer tissue (which is like scar tissue) and causes a bleed. This is obviously uncomfortable and makes the days after the swabs really painful as you’re healing. Once we were done we then sat back down and she started speaking to me about having other children and asking what my plans were for the future with regards to it. I felt so overwhelmed that I was back at square one. There was the option of treatment for relief and to remove it but there would always a chance that the cycle would repeat over and over again. I felt hollow. It was so difficult to comprehend and knowing that I want other children in the future made it so difficult as I would have to basically plan my next baby around procedures to have the best pregnancy I could possibly have. There is no way that I could experience a pregnancy like my first one, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone and especially not with the care of a child as well. It wouldn’t be fair to Evangeline to have me in and out of hospital.

I went home and I cried, I felt so sad. It was a serious “why me?” moment. The trouble with this ectropion is that you literally cannot explain to other people how it is affecting you, you just feel out of control of your body. I was told that I would need to wait for my smear test results before I could be referred for treatment to remove the cells so I had that as the added worry on top of everything else. What if they found something on the smear too? It was two weeks before Christmas and I was so anxious about it playing on my mind and affecting what should be a happy occasion. Fortunately, I received my results 10 days after the test and everything came back as all clear, which is amazing! Once we were into the New Year I made the appointment at my GP to have my ectropion checked and get referred to the hospital. My appointment was with the Nurse I was used to seeing so I felt reassured and knew she would get everything moving with my referral. After waiting a few weeks I had been booked in for my initial Gynae appointment at the hospital for the 6th of April… then came a global pandemic, which pretty much brought everything to a halt.

Although everything was completely out of my hands, I was struggling with the concept of knowing this could now be my life possibly for another year as the Gynae wait lists are huge. As a single woman it’s not really something that I’d want to explain to a potential future partner and the whole thought of that situation is a massive knock to my confidence. I had been getting used to accepting my situation over the last month or so whilst in lockdown but a few days ago I received a letter from the hospital with an appointment date at the Colposcopy clinic where my ectropion will be treated next week. I called and checked with the secretaries whether it was definitely for the procedure and they confirmed that I’m classed as an urgent patient and they are currently only seeing 4 patients a day at the moment. She also informed me that they might be taking a biopsy if they find anything that doesn’t look right. I feel so appreciative to be having it done so soon but I’m also feeling very anxious, as I have to attend the procedure completely alone due to the Coronavirus. The whole thing is a bit daunting as I’ve not got much time to prepare myself, I think a really difficult factor will be leaving Evangeline for a couple of hours whilst I go. We’ve literally not been apart for 6 weeks! There’s also the recovery period that includes a few days bed rest, the concept of 3 days of napping and chilling out sounds great but I know that it’s going to also be painful and uncomfortable! I’m so fortunate to have my Mum staying with us, there would be no way that I could get through those few days without help so I’m extremely grateful!

As always, I’m just trying to think of the positives of my treatment and I’m counting down the days in lockdown for my very strange day out! Although the process is going to be uncomfortable, embarrassing and painful, I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll all be worth it for at least a year or two of relief and no issues. I’d be pushing it if I thought it could be forever but a girl can dream! I’ll be writing a post to share about my Colposcopy and healing experience as these posts are insanely popular and I have new women contacting me all of time in regards to cervical ectropion! I love being an honest source and having content that readers can find some reassurance in. As always with my ectropion posts, please feel free to contact me in regards to anything. Below you will see links to my earlier posts, which include my initial diagnosis, a pregnancy with cervical ectropion and my delivery story too so please feel free to read if you haven’t already. I hope you’re all keeping safe!

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