Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
What is a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a way your doctor can
examine your genitals, vagina and cervix closely. A colposcope is an instrument
that shines a light on the cervix and magnifies the view for your doctor. At
the beginning of the exam, you lie back and place your feet in the stirrups as
you would for a Pap smear. Your doctor inserts a speculum into your vagina and
opens it slightly so he or she can see your cervix. Then your doctor applies a
vinegar solution to the cervix and vagina with a cotton ball or swab. The
vinegar makes abnormal tissue turn white so your doctor can identify areas that
may need further evaluation.
doctor sees areas of abnormal tissue during the colposcopy, he or she may also
perform a biopsy. This involves removing small samples of tissue from any
abnormal areas in or around the cervix. A specialist doctor called a pathologist
will examine these samples. It usually only takes 20 to 30 minutes for your
doctor to complete a colposcopy and biopsy.
Why is a colposcopy performed?
A colposcopy is usually performed to
help your doctor find the reason for an abnormal Pap smear.
Why is colposcopy important?
Colposcopy is important because it can
detect cancer of the cervix at an early stage. Be sure to talk with your doctor
after the test so that any problems are taken care of right away.
Is the procedure painful?
If your doctor takes a biopsy sample,
you may feel mild cramps and pinching when he or she removes the abnormal
tissue. Relaxing your muscles as much as possible and taking slow, deep breaths
during the procedure may help. You may feel less discomfort if you take an
over-the-counter pain reliever before the procedure. Ask your doctor what kind
of medicine you should take, how much to take, and when to take it. (When you
ask, be sure to let your doctor know if you’re pregnant or if you’re
allergic to aspirin or ibuprofen.)
should I prepare to have a colposcopy?
You may be more comfortable if you
empty your bladder and bowels before the procedure. Don’t douche or have
sexual intercourse during the 24 hours before your appointment.
Does this procedure affect my
ability to have children?
No. If your
doctor takes a biopsy sample, the amount of tissue taken from your cervix is
very small and removing it will not affect any future pregnancies. However, it
is important to let your doctor know if you are pregnant now or even if you
might be pregnant. This information will change the way your doctor does the
Will I have bleeding
after a colposcopy?
You may have a
dark-colored vaginal discharge after the colposcopy. If your doctor takes a
biopsy sample, he or she will put a thick, brownish-yellow paste on that area to
stop any bleeding. When this paste mixes with blood, it forms a thick black
discharge. It’s normal to have this discharge for a couple of days after
the procedure. It’s also normal to have a little spotting for at least two
days after a colposcopy.
Can I use
tampons after the procedure?
Don’t use tampons or put anything in your vagina for at least 1 week after
the procedure, or until your doctor tells you it’s safe. Don’t have
sexual intercourse for at least 1 week.
When should I call my doctor?
Call your doctor right away if you
have any of the following problems after your colposcopy:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (using more than one
sanitary pad per hour).
- Lower abdominal pain.
- Fever, chills or a bad-smelling vaginal odor.
When will I get the results
of my colposcopy?
It usually takes 1
to 2 weeks for your doctor to get a report from the pathologist who looks at
your biopsy samples. Your doctor’s office will contact you when these
results are available. You will need to make a follow-up appointment with your
doctor to talk about the results and any additional treatment you may need. Try
to schedule an appointment no later than 1 month after your