COLPOSCOPY is a way of looking at the cervix, vagina and vulva through a special magnifying device called a colposcope. A colposcope can greatly enlarge the normal view. This exam allows your doctor to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. Colposcopy is done when results of cervical screening tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Colposcopy provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy may also be done if you have certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. It is a painless outpatient procedure done when you are not having your period. For at least 24 hours before the test, you should not
- use tampons
- use vaginal medications
- have sex
As with a pelvic examination, you lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on foot rests for support. A speculum is used to hold apart the vaginal walls so that the inside of the vagina and the cervix can be seen. The colposcope is placed just outside the vulva.
A mild solution is applied to your cervix and vagina with a cotton swab or cotton ball. This liquid makes abnormal areas easier to see. You may feel a slight burning.
The ob-gyn looks through the lens of the colposcope. The colposcope enlarges the view and shines a light onto the vulva, vagina, and cervix. Biopsies will be taken from suspected areas. After procedure you may feel only discomfort and spotting.