Colposcopy of the Vagina and Cervix

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a test in which an instrument called a colposcope is used to look at the vagina and cervix under magnification, and possibly take a sample of tissue. The colposcope looks like binoculars on a tripod. A standard vaginal speculum is used, as when doing a pap smear. No part of the colposcope actually touches your body.

When is it used?

This test is done after you have had an abnormal Pap test result.

How do I prepare for a colposcopy?

The test is easy and brief. No particular preparation is necessary, but you should not be on your period.

What happens during the procedure

You will lie on the examining table just as for a regular pelvic exam. The vaginal speculum is placed, and the cervix is inspected. The mucous on the cervix is brushed away with vinegar on a cotton swab. This does not hurt or sting.

If we find some abnormal appearing tissue, a small sample will be removed with a pinching biopsy instrument. You may feel a pinch or slight cramp.

What happens after the procedure?

You may feel a little lightheaded right after the procedure. You may have to lie down for a few minutes after the test is over. We will tell you what we saw, but will probably need to wait until the lab report is issued for a definite diagnosis. The test results should be ready in 7 to 10 days, depending on the lab. We will notify you of the results as soon as they are available, and schedule your follow-up appointments.

What are the benefits of this procedure

We should be able to make a better diagnosis of the problem in your cervix or vagina and suggest further treatment if necessary.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

Minor bleeding from the biopsy site may occur. Other risks include: Heavy bleeding (more than one pad per hour or more bleeding than your menstrual flow) and infection.

Post-procedure Precautions:

You may use tampons or pads. Avoid intercourse for 4-5 days. Normal activity and exercise is acceptable.

When should I call the office?

Call us immediately if you have:

  • heavy bleeding
  • fever
  • pelvic pain

Follow up:

We will give you instructions on when to make your next appointment.