Cervical abnormalities: CIN3 and CGIN

Relationships and sex

Having CIN3 or CGIN can affect many areas of a woman’s life, including an intimate relationship. Some of the women we spoke to said their partner had been very supportive and understanding, going with them to appointments, looking for more information on the internet, or taking time off work to be with them or look after the children. Several women said they’d grown closer as a result of going through a difficult time together.

Some of the women interviewed discussed telling a new partner that they had CIN3, including when the best time to do this was.

A few of the women interviewed said that, although their partner was supportive, he often didn’t know what to say and this could be difficult.

A few women said their partner felt guilty that they had CIN3 and wondered whether they might have given them HPV.

A few women who’d had hysterectomies felt that their partner hadn’t been supportive, often because they’d found it hard to cope themselves; the relationship had broken up.

Many of the women we talked to also talked about the impact of having treatment for CIN3 / CGIN on their sex lives and how they felt sexually. Most felt wary or scared of having sex after healing because they worried it could be painful or cause further problems. One woman worried she could get an infection. Several would have liked more information about having sex after treatment, maybe in the form of a written leaflet, because it was a difficult or private subject they were often uncomfortable talking about with doctors, friends or family.

Rachel, who had a LLETZ and then a hysterectomy, said she was particularly worried about having sex at first and found certain positions painful.

Lynne met someone new shortly after having a hysterectomy. At first sex was a bit uncomfortable but it became easier when she discovered which positions were most comfortable for her.

Several of the women we interviewed advised others to talk to their partner about their fears or concerns and to take their time. Most also said their partner had been patient and understanding. One woman said her husband felt nervous because he was wary of hurting her. A few women felt uncomfortable the first few times they had sex and said that this might have been because they were tense and worried.

Colleen said she bled the first time she had sex after treatment and made an appointment to see her consultant. There’d been nothing wrong but she now feels scared of having sex again. Anne Marie said she was very worried about having sex or another baby after she’d haemorrhaged following a cone biopsy. She lost a lot of confidence and it took some time to regain it. With hindsight she wishes she had asked for help earlier.

Marjory said that her sex life was affected after having a cone biopsy in 1984. She felt her nerves had been damaged, which made it difficult for her to have an orgasm.

Last reviewed May 2014.
Last updated May 2014.

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