What to Expect from a Colposcopy?

What to Expect from a Colposcopy?

Colposcopy may not be a commonly known term, but the procedure itself is very widely used. A colposcopy is simply a non-invasive way for your gynecologist to explore and more closely examine your cervix. Colposcopies are often ordered after an abnormal pap smear or when your doctor is concerned about something during a pelvic exam. While the term may sound intimidating, there is nothing to fear about this procedure.

Preparing for Your Procedure

In most cases, your physician will ask you to refrain from anything that could affect your cervix. This includes sexual intercourse or using douches, creams or other products inside your vagina. If you are on your period, you may need to reschedule the procedure. Typically, these guidelines are required up to 24 hours before your colposcopy.

During the Procedure

A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure using a special magnifying camera instrument (colposcope) and contrast die to examine an illuminated and close-up view of the cervix as well as the vagina and vulva. While a speculum is placed into your vagina to open up the viewing area (just like your pap smear), the colposcope instrument does not touch you or go inside you. You will be undressed from the waist down and lying comfortably on an exam table with your feet in stirrups like you would a routine pelvic exam.

You may feel some pressure when the speculum is inserted and perhaps a warm sensation when the contrast die is used, but there is generally no other discomfort. A local anesthetic may be used if a suspicious cell or lesion is detected, as your physician will likely want to biopsy the tissue for further testing.

Schedule Your Appointment

Overall, a colposcopy is a quick and painless way for your doctor to find cell changes in your cervix that may turn into cancer. In most cases, the procedure serves as reassurance that everything is normal and okay. However, this painless procedure could also save your life by detecting malignancy at its earliest and most treatable stages.

If you have been called in to follow up on an abnormal pap smear, we encourage you to cooperate with this simple procedure. If you have specific questions or concerns about your colposcopy, please don’t hesitate to ask. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we want to provide a superior level of gynecological care with a personalized and comfortable approach. Call our office today to schedule your consult.

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