Colposcopy is a way to view your cervix, vaginal walls and vulva with equipment that can magnify the area. Like a microscope, the colposcope allows the doctor to see more than can be observed with the eye alone.
When you have changes on your Pap test that could lead to cancer, a colposcopy allows the doctor to view the abnormal cells under magnification. Colposcopy may be performed to assess the following conditions or problems:
Similar to a Pap test, you place your feet into stirrups and your doctor inserts a speculum into your vagina. A mild vinegar or iodine solution is applied to the area with the use of large cotton swabs so abnormal areas are easier to see with the colposcope. Biopsies of these areas are sometimes performed, in which a small sample is removed with special equipment. A sample from the cervical canal may also be taken (endocervical curettage). Biopsies are sent to the laboratory for evaluation.
Following a colposcopy in which no biopsy is performed, you should feel fine right away, and normal activities may be resumed. If you have a colposcopy with a biopsy, you may feel crampy or sore. Your doctor may prescribe a mild analgesic, if necessary.
Your doctor will instruct you on your activity. Do not put anything in your vagina until permission is given.
Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
Follow-up doctor’s visits will be scheduled to monitor your progress through Pap smears and further colposcopies.