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Your gynecologist may recommend a Colposcopy if your pelvic exam and Pap test appear abnormal.

What is Colposcopy?


It’s a simple 10-15 minute procedure that closely examines your cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of disease. It’s painless & performed right here in your gynecologist’s office. Why it’s done? Colposcopy can be used to diagnose things such as cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, Genital warts (different from anal warts), inflammation of the cervix and Precancerous changes in the tissue of both the vagina and cervix.


During the initial evaluation, a medical history is obtained, including gravidity (number of prior pregnancies), parity (number of prior deliveries), last menstrual period, contraception use, prior abnormal pap smear results, allergies, significant past medical history, other medications, prior cervical procedures, and smoking history. In some cases, a pregnancy test may be performed before the procedure. The patient must then sign a consent form.

What can you expect during the Colpscopy?


You will be asked to lie on your back with your feet in supports just like a pelvic exam or Pap test. The doctor then places a metal speculum in your vagina to hold open the walls of your vagina so that the cervix is visible. A special magnifying instrument called a colposcope is positioned a few inches away from the vagina. It functions as a lighted binocular microscope to magnify the view of the cervix, vagina & vulvar surface. Your doctor then applies an acetic acid such as vinegar which may cause a tingling or burning sensation and Iodine. The solution helps highlight any areas of suspicious cells. If any suspicious areas are seen your doctor will collect a small sample of tissue for lab testing. To collect this tissue your doctor uses a sharp biopsy instrument. What you will feel during the biopsy will depend on what type of tissue is being removed. A cervical biopsy does not hurt but you may feel some pressure or cramping. While a vaginal biopsy can cause pain, so your doctor may administer a local anesthetic to help numb the area.

What to expect after the Colposcopy?


If your doctor did not take any biopsies you won’t have any restrictions on your activity. Many women experience spotting or light bleeding for the next day or two.


If a biopsy was taken you can expect vaginal or vulvar pain that lasts a couple of days, light bleeding, or a dark discharge from your vagina. You must avoid tampons, douching and having vaginal intercourse for a week after your biopsy. Make sure to ask your doctor when to expect the results. These results will determine if you will need any further testing and treatment.

Colposcopy February 17, 2015

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This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not medical advice.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.