Anthem Colposcopy Specialists
If you had an abnormal Pap smear, a colposcopy might be ordered to do a more in-depth exam of your cervix, vagina, and vulva. An abnormal Pap smear does not mean you have cancer, but it’s a good idea to have the irregular cells examined through a colposcopy to rule out possible complications.
COLPOSCOPY Q & A
What happens during a colposcopy?
The doctors use a colposcope to do a thorough exam of your cervix and other reproductive organs.
You’ll lie on an exam table with your feet in the stirrups.
The doctor inserts a speculum into your vagina to open the vaginal walls and then holds up the colposcope to get a better look at your cervix.
In some cases, a solution — composed of iodine or acetic acid — is applied to your cervix so that abnormal areas stand out. Images of any abnormalities may be taken.
If appropriate, the doctor will also take a small sampling of the affected tissue – a biopsy – to be sent off for further lab analysis.
The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes.
Does a colposcopy hurt?
The procedure may be slightly uncomfortable, but shouldn’t cause serious pain. If you’re especially anxious about the colposcopy, discuss your fears with the doctors and staff at Anthem OBGYN.
After the procedure, you might have some light spotting, but no other serious side effects.
Why would a colposcopy be ordered?
The doctors may order a colposcopy if you have:
Abnormal cells on a Pap smear
Precancerous changes in cells of the cervix, vagina, or vulva
You may also have the procedure to check on a sore or painful area, or the doctor wants to follow-up on a previous colposcopy to see if treatment was successful. Women who test positive for a specific high-risk type of human papillomavirus (HPV) also benefit from the test to ensure they don’t have precancerous cells.
What should I do to prepare for a colposcopy?
Avoid scheduling the procedure during your period. You’ll be advised to avoid sexual intercourse, tampon usage, or douching for at least 24 hours before the colposcopy. Your appointment may be rescheduled if you have a vaginal or cervical infection as this can skew the results of the test.
Should I be worried if I’m scheduled for a colposcopy?
The test gives the doctors more information about the health of your cervix. The cells that show up as abnormal on a Pap smear are often due to infection or menopausal changes, or they clear up on their own. The colposcopy is just an extra step in ensuring that you’re healthy and cancer-free.