What It Is
What Is a Colposcopy?
If you have had a Pap test that showed abnormal results, your doctor may want to perform a colposcopy. This is a procedure in which your doctor examines your cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of disease, including vaginal and vulvar cancer. During this procedure, your doctor may also want to take a sample of tissue (biopsy) to test for abnormal or cancerous cells.
What to Expect
What to Expect with a Colposcopy
This procedure is performed similarly to a Pap test, most likely in your doctor’s office, and will take between 10 and 20 minutes. Your doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina to hold your cervix open. He/she will then insert a small, lighted instrument called a colposcope to examine your vagina and look for any abnormal areas. He/she may also remove a sample of tissue for lab testing, called a biopsy.
Side Effects of a Colposcopy
Depending on whether a biopsy was taken, you may experience some light spotting for a few days following a colposcopy. If a biopsy was performed, additional side effects include:
- Vaginal pain for one to two days
- Light spotting/bleeding for one to two days
- Discharge from your vagina
You should avoid inserting anything in your vagina and vaginal intercourse for a week following this procedure.
Risks of Colposcopy
You should expect a mild amount of pain and spotting/bleeding following a colposcopy. See your doctor if you experience any of the associated risks:
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe pelvic or abdominal pain