Colposcopy lets a doctor look at your vulva, vagina, and cervix. If the doctor sees a possible problem, he or she can take a small sample of tissue. Then another doctor studies the tissue under a microscope. This is called a biopsy.
Most women have this procedure after they have abnormal results from a Pap test.
During the test, your doctor puts a lubricated tool into your vagina. This is called a speculum. It gently spreads apart the sides of your vagina. This allows your doctor to see inside your vagina and the cervix. The doctor also uses a magnifying device to help him or her see better. This device does not go inside your vagina.
The doctor may put vinegar or iodine on your cervix. This can help the doctor to see any areas that are not normal. Sometimes the doctor also takes photos or videos.
When the speculum goes in, it can feel a little uncomfortable. If the doctor does a biopsy, you may feel a pinch and have some cramping.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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