What is colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a way the doctor can examine your vagina, vulva (vaginal opening) and cervix closely. A colposcope is an instrument that shines a light on the cervix and
magnifies the view for the doctor.
Why is colposcopy done?
Colposcopy is done when results of cervical cancer screening tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Colposcopy provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy also may be used to further assess other problems:
How is the procedure performed?
Colposcopy is done at the doctor’s office.
At the beginning of the exam, you lie on your back and place your feet in the stirrups as you would for a Pap smear. The doctor inserts a speculum into your vagina and opens it slightly so he can see your cervix.
Then the doctor applies a very mild vinegar solution to the cervix and vagina with a cotton ball or swab. The vinegar makes abnormal tissue turn white so the doctor can identify areas that may need further evaluation.
If the doctor sees areas of abnormal tissue during the colposcopy, he may perform a biopsy. This involves removing small samples of tissue from any abnormal areas in or around the cervix.
What to expect during recovery?
After colposcopy, you should be able to get back to your normal activity.
You may experience few undesirable consequences:
- Delayed and prolonged healing of the skin.
You should call the office if you
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (using more than one sanitary pad per hour)
- Severe lower abdominal pain