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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

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 The information used to teach the female reproductive system is old and outdated.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
(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

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
EmpowHER Guest

I was told my pap smear had come back with HPV 16 and would need a colposcopy to further diagnose. I'm up on the table without pants on expecting the colposcopy and then the doctor says, "Okay, this might pinch." Surprise biopsies! I keep wondering why on earth I didn't say anything like, "Hey there! Whatcha doing?" But honestly, who wouldn't be shocked and traumatized by that? I've had migraines before and I think I would've taken the migraine over the biopsies.

November 9, 2015 - 6:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'm due my third lot of biopsy's this morning. Last time the doctor took three and I burst into tears. I felt so stupid. I've had two procedures and both times I have reminded to have a GA. This time I have made it clear I want a local anesthetic before any biopsies are taken as my doctor suggested that last time. Apparently, its tender due to the fact I have scar tissue there. I don't think my doctor has had a biopsy taken herself. Will let you know how It goes. So nervous.... Not sure which will hurt more a biopsy or a big needle put in a place the sun doesn't shine.

September 1, 2015 - 1:07am
EmpowHER Guest

Two days ago, I had my first colposcopy with three cervical biopsies and a culture.
I have a reasonably high pain threshold, but...the colposcopy was pretty uncomfortable, but manageable (I felt like my cervix was being crushed). The main thing is that the biopsies hurt... A LOT!
The worst part of it is that my doctor did not prepare me AT ALL. I have found it very helpful in the past if a doctor says, "Okay, this may hurt a bit, take a deep breath now..." --or whatever.
To call the pain of a biopsy a "pinch" is as absolutely ridiculous (and as offensive) as calling a migraine "just a headache." (And I believe that anyone who would call a cervical biopsy just a "pinch" probably has never had one themselves!)
I don't want to add to anyone's fear or anxiety, though. I survived, though a bit rattled and shaky from the pain. And a bit more than a little angry.
The good news is that the colposcopy/biopsy should be over pretty quickly.
I would definitely recommend taking an ibuprofen before, or requesting sedation. Check with your doctor about ibuprofen, because you don't want to be thinning your blood too much prior to the procedure. (And if you get sedation, you won't be able to drive yourself home, and the sedation itself might make you a bit ill. UGH!)
I just don't understand why there isn't anything like a topical anesthetic (not an injection) that can take the edge off the pain. (?!)
Welcome to the limits of "modern" (Western) Medicine, I guess. Especially women's medicine.
Wishing everyone good luck and good health. :-)

July 22, 2015 - 4:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Im so glad I found I'm not the only one. Had one today and I have had all kinds of procedures done with little pain even the past Drs where amazed how well I take pain, I also had this done 9 years ago and it was just uncomfortable but not this time. I screamed out in pain and almost threw up and pass out . After trying to finish twice I stopped it I had enough. Now the Dr is going to put me under and finish it since I need another procedure that can be done at the same time. I also cried all the way home and felt like I was just left in the room to get dressed and check out even still feeling faint. I gave birth and it was not as bad and many surgeries that never came this close. Something should be done about this procure.

August 5, 2015 - 6:29pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I've read so many reviews like this that scare the heck out of me! I'm supposed to have a biopsy and I feel like I'd rather have cervical cancer. Why is our only option a needle or a scalpel? I feel like men made this test up and Said it doesn't need anesthesia. I'm so stressed out and I wish someone would just make this whole thing less scary. I don't even want to do the biopsy that might save my life.

September 25, 2015 - 3:19am
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