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colposcopy screening

Colposcopy (kol-POS-kuh-pee) is a procedure to closely examine your cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of disease. During colposcopy, Dr. Corney uses a special instrument called a colposcope.

Dr. Corney may recommend colposcopy if your Pap test has shown abnormal results. If Dr. Corney finds an unusual area of cells during colposcopy, a sample of tissue can be collected for laboratory testing (biopsy).

Many women experience anxiety before their colposcopy exams. Knowing what to expect during your colposcopy may help you feel more comfortable.

Why is colposcopy screening done?

Dr. Corney may recommend colposcopy if a Pap test or pelvic exam revealed abnormalities.

To prepare for your colposcopy, Dr. Corney may recommend that you:

Coping with anxiety before your colposcopy

Many women experience anxiety as they wait for their colposcopy exams. Anxiety can make you feel generally uncomfortable. You may find it hard to concentrate, and you may have difficulty sleeping.

Women who are very anxious about their colposcopy may experience more pain during the procedure than those who find ways to control and manage their anxiety. Women with high anxiety levels are also more likely to skip their colposcopy appointments.

Accept that you’ll feel some anxiety as you wait for your appointment, and find ways to cope. For instance:

What you can expect during and after a colposcopy

During The Colposcopy
Colposcopy is usually done in a doctor’s office and the procedure typically takes 10 to 20 minutes. You’ll lie on your back on a table with your feet in supports, just as during a pelvic exam or Pap test.

The doctor places a metal speculum in your vagina. The speculum holds open the walls of your vagina so that your doctor can see your cervix.

Your doctor positions the special magnifying instrument, called a colposcope, a few inches away from your vulva. A bright light is shown into your vagina and your doctor looks through the lens, as if using binoculars.

Your cervix and vagina are swabbed with cotton to clear away any mucus. Your doctor may apply a solution of vinegar or another type of solution to the area. This may cause a burning or tingling sensation. The solution helps highlight any areas of suspicious cells.

During The Biopsy
If your doctor finds a suspicious area, a small sample of tissue may be collected for laboratory testing. To collect the tissue, your doctor uses a sharp biopsy instrument to remove a small piece of tissue. If there are multiple suspicious areas, your doctor may take multiple biopsy samples.

What you feel during a biopsy depends on what type of tissue is being removed:

Dr. Corney may apply a chemical to the biopsy area to limit bleeding.

After the colposcopy
If Dr. Corney didn’t take a biopsy sample during your colposcopy, you won’t have any restrictions on your activity once your exam is complete. You may experience some spotting or very light bleeding from your vagina in the next day or two.

If you had a biopsy sample taken during your colposcopy, you may experience:

Diagnosis, Risks, & Complications

Diagnosis

Colposcopy can be used to diagnose:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Genital warts
  • Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis)
  • Precancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix
  • Precancerous changes in the tissue of the vagina
  • Precancerous changes of the vulva
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Vulvar cancer

Associated Risks

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated having a colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a safe procedure that carries very few risks. Rarely, complications can occur, including:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pelvic pain

Complications

Signs and symptoms that may indicate complications include:

  • Bleeding that is heavier than what you typically experience during your period
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Severe abdominal pain

Call Dr. Corney if you experience any of these signs and symptoms after your colposcopy