In-Office Procedures — Colposcopy

Colposcopy is a procedure done in the office that allows your doctor to evaluate your vagina and cervix with a bright light and a magnifying lens. This allows your doctor to see problems that are not visible to the naked eye.

Your practitioner may recommend a colposcopy for several reasons. Most commonly it is done to get more information about the cervix after an abnormal pap smear. It may also be recommended if there is an abnormal appearance of your cervix, vagina, or vulva at the time of your routine gynecological exam. At times it is suggested to evaluate abnormal bleeding or growths on the cervix.

A colposcopy typically takes 10-15 minutes. It is best done when you don’t have your period. For 24 hours before the test you should not have anything in the vagina (intercourse, tampons, douching, vaginal medications).

During the exam, a speculum will be placed in your vagina so that your cervix can been seen. A solution will be placed in your vagina and on your cervix that makes the abnormal areas easier to see. There may be some mild discomfort associated with this.

The doctor may perform a biopsy (remove a small piece of tissue) at the time of the colposcopy. There may be some cramping or pain if a biopsy is performed. This discomfort is usually brief. You may have discharge for a few days after the exam. Your doctor may also tell you not to put anything in your vagina for a short time.

If a biopsy is taken, the results are usually available in a week. You will be informed of all biopsy results. The results will determine further timing of exams or treatment.