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Why is anesthetic not routinely used during a cervical biopsy?

By February 20, 2011 - 4:56pm
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I recently had a Colopscopy (sp?), during which the specialist decided a biopsy was necessary. I have had yearly pap and never a bit of pain...but I found the cervical biopsy an unpleasant experience. Why would a physician NOT provide local anesthetic, and allow for time to "freeze" the area to be sampled?

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EmpowHER Guest

There are many risks to general anesthetics....like, I might not wake up....think Michael Jackson! This is why it is not generally used for colposcopy. Colposcopy is LOOKING at the cervix, a biopsy MAY be done. Ask for an anti anxiety medication before the procedure if you are nervous about having a biopsy during colposcopy, and a paracervical block anesthetic can be used with much less risk than a general anesthetic.
This is different than a LEEP procedure which is a removal and diagnosis of abnormal tissue that has already been confirmed by biopsy. It is a small surgery and more worth the risk of a general anesthetic.

June 26, 2017 - 10:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

I just had two cervical biopsies, one very high up. I did not expect the excruciating pain and was not warned (if I was, I'm sure I would have been scared off which is maybe why they don't tell you). I consider myself pretty pain tolerant, I've had 2 c-sections and some really painful tooth issues. Nothing compared to this, and I felt violated as well as some of you have also noted. I screamed and almost threw up. If you have to get one, take the day off. I had to go back to work when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed in a fetal position and cry. Why they can't use a novocaine type numbing solution is beyond me.

June 26, 2017 - 7:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

I recently had one. Doctor wanted to do same day I went for pelvic ultrasound results (which was also painful), but I told her I need to prepare. She gave me pain meds to take an hour before procedure next day. I asked for local anesthesia because urologist did so for cystoscopy, but did not get one for pelvic ultrasound.

I would not have been able to do it without the local anesthesia and squeezing the nurses hand. It was excruciating! I was singing worship, praying, and breathing drep breaths.

She had to take 3 samples, the last was the worst. I survived, but literally shed tears when it was done. My doctor and nurse really helped by encouraging me, as if I was giving birth. The doctor took her time to make sure the anesthesia had kicked in.

June 16, 2017 - 1:18am
EmpowHER Guest

I had a colposcopy today with 2 punch biopsies. In the past I have had a bone marrow biopsy (think giant needle in your hip bone) and this was more traumatising. I was told nothing before the procedure and I bled ALOT - the doctor put in a tampon afterwards. I was in so much pain on the way home I cried in agony on the train. No local anaesthetic and was not told to take anything prior. I'm also on intravaginal antiobiotics because he was worried the biopsy sites might get infected. If testicles had to be biopsied without anaesthetic there would be protests in the streets!

November 24, 2016 - 5:16am
EmpowHER Guest

I'm trying to find the medical reason. I know what my assumption is. The information used to teach the female reproductive system is old and outdated. It was once assumed that there are no nerve endings in the cervix. I know that is not true for all women because I've had orgasms that may have built up elsewhere but were sent over the climax by cervical stimulation.

During my recent colposcopy and biopsy (four), I used the relaxation techniques that have gotten me through so smears and waxes. Once I even allowed myself to be burned (legs only) by wax that was too hot because I was so deep in my happy place.

The techniques did not work 100% for the biopsies. That procedure HURTS! I'm about to start writing some letters until someone in power within the medical community pays attention.

November 15, 2016 - 9:01am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

PLEASE DO. I HAVE SEEN SEVERAL TESTIMONIES ON YOUTUBE. It is too violent a procedure performed on the most delicate part of the woman's body. To even consider performing such without pain meds, anesthesia and time for a woman to mentally prepare, is barbaric!

June 25, 2017 - 7:41pm
(reply to Anonymous)

as for medical reason... I've read that any procedure to numb or anesthetize would be as painful (isn't it suppose to be painless?). That's why I won't get another unless I'm put out (see my post "long story short"/May 2016). I repeat that my primary problem is the anxiety, not the pain (although it is/was painful to me). I experienced it as traumatizing, and won't ever "go along" again. I do think that personnel "undersell" it as "no big deal." Then, many of us feel tricked. I know that there are many women that do not share my experience. I don't want to "pre-traumatize" anyone. I also know that there are many women that do find it TERRIFYING and painful. I want to connect/support those; and say "me too!"

December 25, 2016 - 9:46am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to anyone)

I have also been duped into having a biopsy by a male doctor who when asked said it's a little discomfort. I have never felt such pain and whilst screaming and telling the doctor to stop he continued literally digging and then acted like I was a wuss!! Never again without being fully knocked out!!

September 18, 2017 - 6:19am

long story, short. I refused to go for annuals for years due to cervical biopsy in my 20's that left me feeling violated (the pain was secondary). I passed out, getting dressed. woke alone on the floor. In my 40's, I started therapy for childhood sexual abuse. I had to get a "full" physical. Yup! HPV+... abnormal pap; recommended colposcopy/biopsy. I agreed, if they would put me out. they refused. I spent months calling offices, unsuccessfully. I called my insurance company; argued "psych condition" warranted anesthesia - or I would refuse the procedure... until they "had" to put me out. they found me a dr. that would put me out. my meet/greet appt was last week. wait n see mode. I'm not advocating that anyone else take this approach. I didn't take it lightly. I couldn't "talk myself" into allowing it any other way. I only write this so that other women and hopefully medical personnel understand that this is not acceptable! we use to do a lot of things without anesthesia that would be considered barbaric and abusive today. Some women get through it fine. Many do not. Women need to talk about this more and stop thinking we're alone.

May 22, 2016 - 1:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had a cervical biopsy this week and it was utterly awful. I screamed, bawled and cussed. The day after the muscles in my ass hurt from the severity of the clenching. I was told it would feel like a pinch. It was worse then the pain when I had to have an emergency gallbladder surgery. They have to downplay the pain I suppose, or then they would have to explain why no pain relief measures are taken. I dont know why something can't be given orally or a local anesthetic. The cramping continued for a while afterwards and I felt so violated from the experience. There was a large pool of blood under me when I got up which also tells me this was much more than a "pinch." I will never NEVER do this again without pain prevention measures.

May 20, 2016 - 9:15am
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