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Cin1 but normal smear

20 Jun 2019 13:07

I've had 3 HPV positive smears all of which were 'normal' as common practice they sent me for a colposcopy because I have 3 positives every year

Though my smear was normal my colposcopy showed CIN1 mild changes. Am I right in thinking this wasn't picked up in my smear? 

I've had my most recent smear which has come back normal but my worry is the changes only showed up in a colposcopy and I've just been asked to have another smear in a year?

Anyone else had 'normal' smear but changes in colposcopy ?

Thanks Happy

Cin1 but normal smear

20 Jun 2019 16:22 in response to Nloo123

Hello and thanks for posting,

I am sure you already know that most abnormal cell changes that occur in the cervix are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. The body usually clears the virus through it's own immune system within a couple of years of coming into contact with HPV, but sometimes treatment is needed to remove the abnormal cells. 

The cervical screening programmes purpose is to detect abnormalities that can either be monitored or treated until it returns to normal. There are strict guidelines that both the UK cervical screening programme and the colposcopists follow to ensure abnormalities are managed in the most effective way. If a woman tests positive for HPV without any abnormal cells detected on the sample on 3 separate occasions then they will be sent to colposcopy for a more precise assessment of what is happening to the cervix.

Cervical screening will report abnormal cells as either low, moderate or severe cell changes ( how different they look compared to normal cells). At colposcopy a biopsy samples from the abnormal areas seen is able to identify the type of abnormality.  Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasm (CIN) are pre cancerous cells, 1 being mild and 3 the most severe abnormal cells. CIN1 usually returns to normal, so treatment isn't offered at this stage, but will be monitored as yours will. CIN 2 and CIN3 will be offered treatment by removing the abnormal cells to prevent the risk of them turning into cancer at a later date. 

I hope this is helpful and that other forum users share their experiences too. It may be worth posting on another section of the forum if you would like to hear other peoples similar stories.

Take care,


Cin1 but normal smear

21 Jun 2019 07:31 in response to CRUK Nurse Naomi

Hi Naomi ,

Thank you for the reply. I think that my main concern was that my 3rd smear came back HPV positive but no abnormalities but when I had my colposcopy it did show mild changes.

Could this be that it can and went very quickly? Or that my smear did not pick it up. 

Now I'm wondering if my recent smear just has not picked it up like last time ?




Cin1 but normal smear

21 Jun 2019 14:05 in response to Nloo123

Hi Natalie

I can appreciate that you may be concerned, but do remember that the majority of mild changes to the cervix go away by themselves.

A colposcopy is a much more specific examination of the cervix, and as you may be already aware, a solution to identify abnormal areas on the cervix can be used and this isn't done on a smear test.

Mild changes to the cervix can also usually disappear of their own accord and don't need any treatment, so it's possible that this, plus the above, meant that the cells weren't seen.

I wouldn't worry about this as the cervical screening programme is quite rigorous in their follow up appointments and you will be screened regularly.

If you want to go over any of this, please do give us a ring so we can talk things through with you . The number to call is Freephone 0808 800 4040 and the lines are open from 9am till 5pm Monday to Friday.

All the best