The skilled OB-GYN specialists at Gateway Medical Group offer annual well-woman exams, which include a routine Pap smear. Should the test show anything unusual, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy to get a closer look at the cervix.
Colposcopy is a simple, virtually painless procedure, which we can complete in a few minutes right in the office. It can help prevent or detect a variety of conditions, including cervical cancer, which is often highly treatable when caught early.
About the Procedure
A colposcopy is very similar to a routine pelvic exam. You will lay back on the table, with your feet in the stirrups. The doctor uses a tool called the speculum, which allows the doctor to see the cervix. Next, the doctor applies a mild solution to the cervix and vagina with a cotton swab. Your doctor will then use a colposcopy, which resembles binoculars on a telescoping arm, to carefully examine the cervix for any problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone.
The entire process should take between five and ten minutes; your health and comfort are our priority.
If your doctor or nurse sees anything abnormal, they’ll perform a biopsy to take tiny samples of tissue from the cervix and send it to the lab for testing. They may also recommend other options to remove precancerous cells.
In addition to screening for cervical cancer, the doctor may use colposcopy to assess other problems, including:
- Genital warts on the cervix
- Cervicitis (an inflamed cervix)
- Benign growths, such as polyps
Before Your Appointment
You don't have to do much to prepare for a colposcopy. Just make sure to schedule your colposcopy for when you won’t have your period. That makes it easier to view the cervix. Also, don’t douche, use tampons, use vaginal medications or have sex for at least 24 hours before your appointment.
Recovery & Follow-Up Care
If you only have a colposcopy, you should feel fine right away without restrictions in your normal activities. You may have very light spotting or bleeding.
If you had a biopsy sample taken, you might experience vaginal or vulvar pain, light bleeding or a discharge that lasts a few days. In this case, use a pad and avoid inserting vaginal products for up to a week or until recommended by your doctor. You can always call us if you have any questions or concerns.
The results of your colposcopy will determine any follow-up testing or treatments. Rest assured that the women’s health team at Gateway Medical Group is here for you with expert and compassionate care, every step of the way.