Colposcopy

Colposcopy is the procedure to examine the cervix, vagina and vulva for disease. A colposcope is used to view the internal parts of these organs. Colposcopy is carried out in case of abnormal results of Pap smear and cervical screening tests.

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A colposcopy may be needed in case of- 

  • Genital Warts
  • Cervicitis
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cervical pain
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina
  • Vulvar cancer

Colposcopy is a diagnosis for several diseases of the vagina, vulva and the cervix. Before a colposcopy, the patient must not take any vaginal medications at least for 2 days before. It is recommended that the patient does not have sexual intercourse or use tampons several days prior to the procedure.

A colposcopy is performed while the patient sits on a chair which provides support to the broadened legs to get access to the vagina. A speculum keeps the walls of the vagina open to view the cervix. Colposcope, a magnifying instrument, is used to examine the cervix carefully.

After a colposcopy, there may be chances of heavy bleeding and a discharge from the vagina. There are possibilities of an infection of the vagina or cervix. The patient may also suffer from pain in the pelvic region.

After a colposcopy, the patient should avoid using tampons for at least about one week after. In case of persistent bleeding and unusual discharge, the patient must contact the doctor.

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Colposcopy

Colposcopy is the procedure to examine the cervix, vagina and vulva for disease. A colposcope is used to view the internal parts of these organs. Colposcopy is carried out in case of abnormal results of Pap smear and cervical screening tests.

Symptoms

A colposcopy may be needed in case of- 

  • Genital Warts
  • Cervicitis
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cervical pain
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina
  • Vulvar cancer

Treatment

Colposcopy is a diagnosis for several diseases of the vagina, vulva and the cervix. Before a colposcopy, the patient must not take any vaginal medications at least for 2 days before. It is recommended that the patient does not have sexual intercourse or use tampons several days prior to the procedure.

A colposcopy is performed while the patient sits on a chair which provides support to the broadened legs to get access to the vagina. A speculum keeps the walls of the vagina open to view the cervix. Colposcope, a magnifying instrument, is used to examine the cervix carefully.

Risks

After a colposcopy, there may be chances of heavy bleeding and a discharge from the vagina. There are possibilities of an infection of the vagina or cervix. The patient may also suffer from pain in the pelvic region.

After Procedure

After a colposcopy, the patient should avoid using tampons for at least about one week after. In case of persistent bleeding and unusual discharge, the patient must contact the doctor.

FAQ Section

1) What is colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a type of cervical cancer test and provides a way for your physician to get a microscopic view of your cervix so he or she can see if there are still abnormal cells and, if so, what type of cells are they. The colposcope looks like a large set of binoculars and the colposcopy is considered noninvasive since the colposcope does not penetrate your body.

2) What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Once cervical cancer develops, the first signs include:

  • abnormal bleeding, spotting, or discharge
  • periods that are heavier than usual
  • bleeding after sex

3) What happens during colposcopy and biopsy?

The patient lies down on an exam table like she would for a pelvic exam. The doctor or nurse puts a speculum into her vagina and opens it. They wash the patient's cervix with a vinegar-like solution which makes it easier to see abnormal cells. Next, they look at the patient's cervix through a colposcope. The colposcope doesn’t touch the patient or goes inside the patient. If the doctor or nurse sees something that doesn’t look normal, they perform a biopsy.

4) How much time does colposcopy take?

A colposcopy and biopsy only take about 5-10 minutes.

5) Why is this test performed?

A colposcopy is usually done if the patient's Pap test results are abnormal. The purpose of colposcopy is to closely examine the cervix, vagina, and surrounding tissues and try to detect abnormal cells called precancerous cells.

6) How often should the colposcopy be performed?

Doctors recommend this procedure when it is required to get a clearer look at the vagina, cervix, or surrounding tissues. However, you should get your colposcopy within 3 months of receiving an abnormal Pap result.

7) Are there any risks of colposcopy?

Although it is generally considered safe, colposcopy does have some risk of side effects or complications. These include:

  • abdominal pain
  • heavy bleeding
  • infection

8) Does the procedure hurt?

A colposcopy is nearly pain-free and the patient might only feel pressure when the speculum goes in. It might also sting or burn a little when they wash the cervix with the vinegar-like solution.

9) What is the recovery like for colposcopy?

If the colposcopy does not involve a biopsy, then the chances of requiring recovery is very less. If a biopsy was done, the patient may feel sore for up to a few days, and bleeding is also normal during this period. Limit the physical activities to match the discomfort, and avoid sex and using tampons or douching for the few days after the biopsy to let the tissues heal.

10) When does the patient get her results?

If the patient doesn't require a biopsy, then her results should be given to her by the doctor right then and there. If a biopsy is required, the results typically take seven to ten days to come back unlessspecified otherwise.