Pain relief for women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia undergoing colposcopy treatment

Gajjar, Ketan, Martin-Hirsch, Pierre PL, Bryant, Andrew and Gajjar, Ketan (2012) Pain relief for women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia undergoing colposcopy treatment. The Cochrane Library . pp. 1-71. ISSN 1465-1858

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Treatment for CIN is usually undertaken in an outpatient colposcopy clinic to remove the pre-cancerous cells from the cervix. It commonly involves lifting the cells off the cervix with electrically heated wire (diathermy) or laser, or destroying the abnormal cells with freezing methods (cryotherapy). This is potentially a painful procedure. The purpose of this review is to determine which, if any, pain relief should be used during cervical colposcopy treatment. We identified 17 trials and these reported different forms of pain relief before, during and after colposcopy. Evidence from two small trials showed that women having a colposcopy treatment had less pain and blood loss if the cervix was injected with a combination of a local anaesthetic drug and a drug that causes blood vessels to constrict (narrow), compared with placebo. Although taking oral pain-relieving drugs (e.g. ibuprofen) before treatment on the cervix in the colposcopy clinic is recommended by most guidelines, evidence from two small trials did not show that this practice reduced pain during the procedure. Most of the evidence in this field is of a low to moderate quality and further research may change these findings.

Additionally, we were unable to obtain evidence with regards to dosage of the local anaesthetic drug or method of administering local anaesthetic into the cervix. There is need for high-quality trials with sufficient numbers of participants in order to provide the data necessary to estimate these effects.

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