What is a Colposcopy? The procedure, Risks, and Results

What is a Colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a way to closely examine your cervix to see if any abnormal cells are present that may turn into cancer or any other disease in the future.

In this procedure, the doctor looks at the vulva and vagina to see the signs of disease.

An instrument called a “colposcope” for this test. This instrument provides magnification and light to quickly examine the cervix more easily.

The doctor usually recommends colposcopy when the Pap test is not normal. If the doctor finds any abnormal cells in your cervix then he collects some tissues for the laboratory test which is also called a biopsy.

Why is Colposcopy done?

The doctor may suggest you colposcopy if you are experiencing:

  • Bleeding that is not normal
  • Inflamed cervix
  • Pain
  • To checks results of ongoing treatment
  • Benign growth on the cervix

The procedure of Colposcopy

The doctor will tell you to lie down for a pelvic exam. Then the nurse or doctor will put a speculum into the vagina and separate the walls so they can look inside your cervix easily.

After this, the main work starts. The doctor then uses a colposcope which looks like binoculars with a stand and has a bright light. If you’re scared that the colposcope will go inside your vagina then it’s not like that. It doesn’t go inside you or touch you. If the doctor sees abnormal cells then they will collect the sample tissues for the biopsy.

Biopsy has two types:

  • One take tissues from the opening of your cervix (inside)
  • And the other one takes tissues from outside of your cervix

Biopsy and colposcopy both take just 5 to 10 minutes. You don’t need to worry about the pain because colposcopy or biopsy doesn’t cause any pain.

During colposcopy, special tests like the use of colour filters, acetic acid wash, and biopsy of tissues can be done if needed.

Risks of Colposcopy

There are no risks of colposcopy but if the doctor sees abnormal cells then will perform your biopsy and rarely complications occur from the biopsy that can be:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Infection
  • Heavy bleeding

Results of Colposcopy

It’s not possible to tell you quickly if there are abnormal cells in your cervix or not. However, if your doctor has performed your biopsy then it may take 3 to 8 weeks to get the results of colposcopy.

After colposcopy some people experience:

  • Light bleeding
  • Dark-colored discharge from the vagina
  • Vulva or vaginal pain for one or two days

Your doctor can remove all the abnormal cells from your cervix sometimes during the biopsy.  If someone needs further treatment then they may have:

  • Cone biopsy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Loop electrical excision procedure (LEEP)
  • Laser

Before leaving the colposcopy appointment, ask the nurse or doctor about the results. The report of your colposcopy will conclude if you need any further treatments or tests or not.

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