Colposcopy is the examination of the cervix (the opening of the womb) with a special microscope called a colposcope.
You may be referred from your local doctor for a colposcopy for the following reasons:
- Your pap smear has come back with an abnormal result.
- You have a normal pap smear but you have some other symptoms such as bleeding after intercourse.
- Your GP has a concern about the look of the cervix when they took the pap smear.
What happens during a colposcopy?
Having a colposcopy is a similar experience to having a pap smear but takes a little longer. A speculum like the one used during a pap smear is inserted into the vagina. Two different solutions are applied to the cervix to highlight any abnormal areas. Through the microscope, the gynaecologist can examine the cervix and locate these abnormal areas.
Most women do not find the experience painful, just uncomfortable. Occasionally a small amount of tissue, a biopsy, needs to be taken. At the time of the biopsy you may notice a small period cramp. At least half of all women do not notice the biopsy being taken.
After the colposcopy:
You may experience a small amount of spotting or occasional cramps the day of the colposcopy.
If you have had a biopsy taken, the risk of infection is very small but to limit this risk, you should not have intercourse, not use a tampon and avoid swimming and spas for two week afterwards. Signs of infection include increasing cramps and bleeding after the initial one – two days following the procedure.
What if I am pregnant?
If you are pregnant or could be pregnant, you should inform Dr Brims. It is still possible to go ahead with the colposcopy but there might be some minor changes needed to the procedure. There is no risk to the pregnancy from performing a colposcopy.
What should I do if I am expecting my period at the time of the colposcopy?
The colposcopy cannot be performed during a period so please ring and reschedule your procedure for another time.