Thousands of women who receive treatment for abnormal cells after a cervical smear are completely unprepared for the possible side effects, warns a charity.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust surveyed 1,622 women and found that one in five had no idea they could experience pelvic pain, bleeding and loss of libido after the treatment.
220,000 women have pre-cancerous cells found during routine smear tests in the UK every year – it is incredibly common, and yet understanding about the effects of the treatment is very limited.
The survey also found that 86% experienced bleeding or spotting after having the cells removed, but only 15% recognised this as a side effect.
There are psychological side effects as well. A huge 71% of women experienced anxiety following the treatment, but just 6% of women were told that this could happen.
Almost one in four women said they experienced depression following treatment. And many women who did experience side effects didn’t seek support, saying that they were too embarrassed.
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