What is colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a medical examination procedure during which the gynecologist examines the external genitalia, vagina and cervix using a special instrument called the colposcope. Although the term means the (examination) view of the vagina, this method is used for an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix. Magnification can reach up to 40 times. The greater the magnification, the more accurate the examination results. Thus, this test enables the Doctor to diagnose lesions at early stages that are impossible to detect with a naked-eye examination.
What is the colposcopy for?
Colposcopy is performed when a routine screening of cervical cancer (Pap test) detects lesions in the cells of the cervix and provides more information about these cellular changes. Symptoms that may prompt an evaluation with a colposcopy:
- warts found intravaginally and in the cervix
- cervical inflammation
- benign neoplasms (not cancerous), such as polyps
Sometimes colposcopy examination needs to be repeated several times.
How is the medical procedure performed?
Colposcopy can be done in our gynecological clinic. It is preferable to have the examination in time when you are not having your period so we can achieve optimal visualization of the cervix. You should abstain from sexual intercourse at least 24 hours prior to the examination, wash the vaginal area and use tampons. You will lie down on an exam table like you would for a Pap test. The doctor will place a speculum into your vagina to provide a better view of the cervix. Once the device is in position, he will gently cleanse your cervix with saline, either using a spray bottle or a cotton swab. Next, the colposcope will be positioned close to your vaginal opening, so the light is shining on the vagina and cervix.
When is a biopsy required during colposcopy?
If your doctor sees something that does not look normal, he will perform a biopsy. This means he will take a tiny sample of tissue and send it to a lab. The tissue sample is placed in a bottle containing formοl and sent to the laboratory for examination.
What should I expect during recovery?
If biopsy is not performed during colposcopy, you should feel fine after the completion of the procedure. It is possible to notice brown spotting in your underwear. If biopsy is performed, you may feel pain or weakness for 1 or 2 days. In this case the use of analgesic drugs may stop the pain. In addition, you may experience small vaginal bleeding or brown spotting for a few days, due to the medication used to stop bleeding during biopsy. For this reason, it is good to carry a panty. While the cervix heals, your doctor may suggest that you limit down your daily activities and strictly follow his instructions. Do not have sex, use tampons and do vaginal washes for a few days after colposcopy. Please immediately contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe vaginal bleeding (i.e. if you need to use more than one panty per hour)
- Severe pain low in the abdomen