Colposcopy is a procedure that gives your healthcare provider a magnified view of the cervix. It is done using a lighted microscope called a colposcope. In most cases, a sample of cervical cells is taken during a biopsy. The sample can then be studied in a lab. If any problems are found, you and your healthcare provider will discuss treatment options. It usually takes less than 30 minutes, and you can often go back to your normal routine right away.
Colposcopy is usually done as a follow-up exam to help find the cause of an abnormal Pap test. Abnormal Pap tests are often due to an HPV (human papilloma virus) infection. HPV is a large family of viruses. HPV can cause genital warts. It can also cause changes in cervical cells. Colposcopy is also used to assess other problems. These include pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse, or a lesion on the vulva or vagina.
Problems after colposcopy are very rare, but can include:
Bleeding (if a biopsy is done)
Colposcopy is normally done in your healthcare provider's office. It will be scheduled for a time when you're not having your menstrual period. You may be asked to sign a form giving your consent to have the procedure. A day or two before the procedure, your healthcare provider may also ask you to:
Avoid sexual intercourse.
Stop using tampons.
Avoid using creams or other vaginal medications.
Take over-the-counter pain medications an hour or two before the procedure.
You will be asked to lie on an exam table with your knees bent, just as you do for a Pap test.
An instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to hold it open.
A vinegar solution is applied to the cervix to make the cells easier to see. You may feel pressure or a slight burning for a few moments. In some cases, the cervix may be numbed first with an anesthetic.
The cervix is viewed through the colposcope, which is placed outside the vagina.
If your healthcare provider sees abnormal areas on the cervix, a biopsy will be done. The tissue sample is sent to a lab for study.
You may feel slight pinching or cramping during the biopsy. Medication may be applied to the biopsy site to stop bleeding.
If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, you can rest on the table until you're ready to get dressed.
If a biopsy was done, you may have mild cramping or light bleeding for a few days. You may also have discharge from the medication used to stop bleeding at the biopsy site.
Use pads, not tampons, for at least the first 24 hours.
If you have any discomfort, over-the-counter pain medication can provide relief.
Ask your healthcare provider when you can resume sexual intercourse.
If a biopsy was done, your healthcare provider will get the lab report in a week or two. You and your healthcare provider can then discuss the results. In some cases, you may be scheduled for further tests or treatment. Be sure to keep follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.
Publication Source: National Library of Medicine
Online Source: National Library of Medicine
Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00
Date Last Modified: 2004-10-01T00:00:00-06:00
Dr. Marsha Bornt started seeing me when I was in my early twenties (20 years ago). After seeing many doctors, she was the 1st doctor to diagnose me with endometriosis. I went on to have many laparoscopies with her over the years. In my thirties I moved about 45-50 min away from Apple Hill, so I ended up seeing another doctor who performed another laparoscopy...
Staff was very friendly and professional. I had a few questions that the doctor was more than happy to answer for me. I got all that needed to be done in a very timely manner. I was very pleased with my visit. Trying to find a parking spot was very frustrating though. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
I am always glad to meet with Dr. Bornt. She is very pleasant and makes sure she has answered all your questions or concerns. She is very thorough in her approach about your medical history . . .wants only the best for you as her patient.