Colposcopy is a way of looking at the cervix through a special magnifying device called a colposcope. It shines a light onto the vagina and cervix. A colposcope can enlarge the normal view by 2–60 times. This exam allows the health care provider to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone.
This pamphlet explains
- reasons for colposcopy
- how colposcopy is performed
- what to expect before, during, and after the procedure
Reasons for Colposcopy
Colposcopy is done when results of cervical cancer screening tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Colposcopy provides more information about the abnormal cells.
Colposcopy also may be used to further assess other problems:
- Genital warts on the cervix
- Cervicitis (an inflamed cervix)
- Benign (not cancer) growths, such as polyps
Sometimes colposcopy may need to be done more than once. It also can be used to check the result of a treatment.
Colposcopy is done in a health care provider’s office. You may be referred to another health care provider or to a special clinic to have it done.
The procedure is best done when a woman is not having her period. This gives the health care provider a better view of the cervix. For at least 24 hours before the test, you should not
- use tampons
- use vaginal medications
- have sex
As with a pelvic exam, you will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on foot rests for support. A speculum will be used to hold apart the vaginal walls so that the inside of the vagina and the cervix can be seen. The colposcope is placed just outside the opening of your vagina.
A mild solution will be applied to your cervix and vagina with a cotton swab or cotton ball. This liquid makes abnormal areas on the cervix easier to see. You may feel a slight burning.
To view the full article, please contact the Four Corners OBGYN office at info@4c0bgyn.