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Pain and cramping during and after pap smear

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silverslinky Posted: Tue, May 1 2012 3:03 AM

I had my routine pap smear done yesterday. The last pap I had was normal and I had no pain during or after the exam. Yesterday the exam was very painful. I jumped while she was feeling around with her hand. It hurt when she was feeling around on my cervix. I also have pain every time I have sex. I just assumed it is going to hurt. The doctor was very concerned that I had that kind of pain during the exam and said I need to have an ultrasound. I went right away and had a transvaginal ultrasound. I will have to wait for the results. Since the pap smear, I have had cramps, and shooting pain in my vagina. I took 2 ibuprofen, and had no relief. I even took a loratab and had no relief. I tried a heating pad and mint herbal tea, and still have the pain. It hurts to urinate and it hurts to walk around a lot. I am scared because my mother had endometriosis and ovarian cysts, and she had to have a hysterectomy in her mid 30's. My younger sister also had endometriosis. I was diagnosed with IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome) in September 2011. I read that IBS is misdiagnosed for endometriosis. I am also scared because I was also given a paper with symptoms of ovarian cancer after my visit! I am only 27 and would like to know if anyone else has had any of these problems? Can you give me some advice on how to help deal with the pain, etc? thank you!

replied on Tue, May 1 2012 4:59 AM

Could you be ovulating?  I've had pap tests and a colposcopy done during my fertile period, and it was never pleasant!  I'd also wonder about maybe an ovarian cyst.  I have no advice for the pain other than a heating pad, hot baths, and maybe a call to your doctor if you're still in agony.

If you do have endo, the only way to know for sure is a laparoscopy.  I suggest you check out the endometriosis forum here for more info!  Luckily, there HAS been some progress since our grandmothers, mothers, etc. had hysterectomies, although not nearly enough.  I personally have terrible endo, and the doctors are amazed that I have any children - they rarely see people with my medical history conceive, but I have 3 living children, and many miscarriages.  I will say, with your family history, and your IBS diagnosis (endo certainly can affect bowel function and cause a lot of problems in that area), I'd get some tests done, but this isn't for the weak-willed; I'm very shy and afraid of confrontation, but over the years, I've had to make very serious requests for tests, and have scary discussions about treatment etc., without running out of the office screaming like I wanted to do.  If you suspect you have a problem, make sure you stand your ground.  Endo does NOT disappear or get better without any help, but you CAN have a family with some luck and a lot of patience and dedication.

I wouldn't worry much about the paper on ovarian cancer.  Many doctors are trying to raise awareness, because it is a very silent killer.  I recall my Nana having it; looking back, the only symptom we missed was that she'd gotten quite puffy in the abdomen, which was attributed to ageing.  She was diagnosed, put into hospital and died within 6 weeks.  That was probably a VERY long time after she had first developed cancer, after it had spread.  Had she been aware of the subtle early signs, she may have gotten screening that could possibly saved her life with a simple operation, which happens far too often with this cancer - hence the efforts to raise awareness.  I'm sure it wasn't a direct hint at a problem, but do call your doctor if you're very worried. Hug

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dj rayne replied on Tue, May 1 2012 6:22 AM

Better to be aware than not and know what to watch for I'd say is the reason they gave you the paper. As PP said timing during your cycle can effect pain level for both sex and exams so can the collection tip on the pap test. Have you noticed worse pain or more frequent occurences at any given pont in your cycle? Endo or cycsts can certainly cause pain as you describe. Had you not have had normal paps with no pain I'd say it can also just be you. There are some that just feel more than others. I've never had pain free paps and depending on the parther and size over the course of my adult relationships I tend to have pain with sex when things are lower and less fertile. I have to stick to certain postions for comfort reasons. I do have endo. I have had cysts and both can make things even more uncomfortable at times. Keep after your DR and I like a rice sock. Safer to take to bed and stays warm a long time. I wrap in a damp wash rag if I want moist heat which penetrates better and soemthing for pain.

David Jude

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lehulei replied on Tue, May 1 2012 7:04 AM

When I was in college I had bacterial vaginosis one time.  I never had odd discharge or a funny smell.  The reason I went to get a pap for it was because it hurt sooooo bad to have sex to the point that I couldn't anymore.  I would cringe every time my boyfriend would touch me.  It was bad!  Anyway, I went to the doctor and when she went to do the exam it hurt so bad I cried the whole time.  Turns out it was bacterial vaginosis and one round of antibiotics cleared it right up.  I'm not saying that this is what is going on in your case because I don't know - it may or may not be.  My point is just that it might be something simple that can be treated fairly easily so try not to worry too much until you know more.  (If you are wondering about BV, might want to call your doctor to make sure they checked for that - I'm not sure if they see it unless they look for it - or maybe they do and I Just can't remember)

Ditto what PPs said about doctors raising awareness on ovarian cancer.  I got a handout the last time I went to my urologist for a check-up.  Plus I think if your doctor was really concerned about it being ovarian cancer, they'd probably have either told you that's what they were looking for or wouldn't have brought it up at all - I doubt they'd try to give a subtle hint with a handout because that would be kind of strange.  So I don't think you have anything to worry about there!

For the pain - ibuprofen is my friend where any kind of pain is concerned.  Over the years I've just figured out that's what works for me.  I know that it can affect ovulation for some women but for me I haven't seen any issues with it.  You could put in a call to your doctor to see if you could take a higher dosage of that or something else - I wouldn't take higher than the standard dosage without talking to a doctor.  For the pain, I usually love my heating pad for cramps.  But when my interstitial cystitis flares up and it feels like I'm on fire between my legs, I get a big ziploc bag and fill it full of ice and sit on it as long as I can stand it.  It doesn't help quickly, it takes a while - but once it starts helping I really do feel much better than before.

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silverslinky replied on Tue, May 1 2012 8:18 PM

It's not ovulation pain b/c I am on cd 10, and I ovulate on cd 22 or so. I am still in pain today from the pap. My cervix hurts so bad. I called the doctor's office and left a message with the receptionist and the nurse never called me back. So, that is discouraging. I wonder how long it takes to get the results from the ultrasound. I read about endo and ovarian cysts online. I did the webmd symptom checker and they were both possible conditions. I just want the pain to go away on my cervix! It feels like a chunk was taken out from the pap, and nothing I do makes the pain go away.

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silverslinky replied on Tue, May 1 2012 8:23 PM

Thank you all for the advice. I will post something when I get the results from the ultrasound! In the meantime, I am just going to stay positive and try not to worry about what it could be! Smile

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dj rayne replied on Wed, May 2 2012 5:29 AM

Cysts on the ovaries can cause pain at anypoint in the cycle - depends on the type of cyst. As for feeling like a chunk has been removed pain from paps can be from what was used to collect and where the collecting was done. I had one OB that essentially used what amounted to a pipe cleaner and collected from inside the neck of the cervix - I'd bleed and cramp for 3-4 days. Call and ask to see if they changed their procedure if you have used the Dr before without problems.

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silverslinky replied on Sat, May 12 2012 11:47 PM

My ultrasound came back normal, so I saw the doctor May 3rd. She said that everything looked normal, and that she didn't see any scrapes on my cervix or anything. She took a sample of my cf and looked at it under a microscope. It turns out I had the early stages of vaginitis (bacterial infection). She said that the pap smear probably agitated my vagina.  I had to take an Rx similiar to monistat for five days. I told her about my concerns with endo, and she said that with my IBS diagnosis and the severe pain I had after the exam, that it is a possibility. I will have to have a laproscopy done to check for it, though. So, I am glad that the ultrasound was normal, I just wish there was an easier way to check for endo! I do feel better after after I did the Rx for the infection.  Thanks again for giving me advice.

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tmonee replied on Sun, May 13 2012 7:43 AM

Glad to hear the Rx relieved your pain and symptoms.  Good luck with the laproscopy when it happens! Flowers

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