What is a Colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to thoroughly check your cervix, vagina, and vulva for any indications of disease.
What Can A Colposcopy Test For Or Diagnose?
If you have received abnormal pap smear results, a colposcopy may be recommended by your doctor for further examination of your cervix, vagina, or vulva. If your doctor notices anything unusual during the colposcopy, they will perform what is known as a colposcopic biopsy for further testing. A colposcopy exam can help diagnose:
- Genital warts
- Precancerous indicators in the cervix, vagina, or vulva
Although a colposcopy can help identify signs of cancer, only a colposcopy of the cervix accompanied by a biopsy can confirm cancer.
What Does A Colposcopy Involve?
A colposcopy is typically performed at your Ob/Gyn doctor’s office. As with a pap smear, the procedure involves laying on your back with your feet in stirrups. Your doctor will first insert a speculum to hold open your vaginal walls. Your doctor then shines a light and uses a magnifying device called a colposcope to view your cervix. Your doctor will wipe the cervix and vagina clear of any mucus. A solution may also be used to help detect any abnormal cells.
If your doctor notices anything unusual, a biopsy will be needed. A colposcopic biopsy involves your doctor using a special medical tool to obtain small tissue samples. Your doctor may use a solution to control any potential bleeding. There are two types of biopsies which can occur with a colposcopy:
- Cervical biopsy
- Vaginal biopsy
You may experience minor bleeding, cramping, or abdominal pain after a colposcopic biopsy.
How Long Does A Colposcopy Take?
The full colposcopy procedure usually takes about 10-20 minutes.
Can I Get A Colposcopy While On My Period?
You can get a colposcopy while on your period, however, it is best to schedule an appointment when you are not menstruating.
What Can I Expect After A Colposcopy?
Knowing what to expect after a colposcopy can help ease your nerves in knowing what after effects are normal and what symptoms may be a cause for concern. If a biopsy does not occur during your colposcopy, no special aftercare is needed, but you may experience 1-2 days of light vaginal bleeding after the procedure.
If you receive a biopsy along with your colposcopy, you may experience:
- Dark vaginal discharge
- Light vaginal bleeding (1-2 days)
- Vaginal or vulva pain (1-2 days)
Vaginal sex, as well as tampon use and douching, should be avoided for a short period of time after a colposcopy that included a biopsy.
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What Are The Potential Risks Or Complications Of A Colposcopy?
As with any medical procedure, there may be a risk of complications or infection. Signs of complications or infection after a colposcopy may include:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Bleeding that is heavier than your period
Call your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms after your colposcopy procedure.
What Are The Benefits Of A Colposcopy?
Benefits of getting a colposcopy include:
- Short procedure time
- Typically performed in-office
- Can help to accurately diagnose diseases or cancers
- Can help your doctor tailor an appropriate treatment plan, if needed
Call Huey & Werpin For Your Colonoscopy Appointment!
If you are interested in a colposcopy or want to learn more about this procedure, schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn specialist at Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn. With specialized care and cutting-edge treatments in obstetrics and gynecology, Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn offers a wide variety of gynecologic and obstetric services from leaders in Ob/Gyn research development. Call 937.771.5100 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.