Colposcopy is widely preferred by the doctors to examine certain unusual changes in the health of vagina, vulva and cervix. While your doctor prescribes to undergo a colposcopy, it is better to stay in your own comfort zone by knowing about it in an explicit manner. Read on to this blog to learn about its essentiality and certain important facts before your examination appointment.
What is actually colposcopy and what is it necessity?
Colposcopy helps in identifying the abnormal or precancerous cells which will become cancerous over time in the vulva, vagina and cervix. In their initial stages, they are termed as “precancerous tissues”. Even it plays an important role in finding out other potential health issues like polyps (noncancerous growths) or genital warts.
Colposcope is the very specific light-weighted instrument with high magnified viewing specification used for performing colposcopy. It assists the doctor to get a full, clear and magnified view of the vulva, vagina and cervix to detect unusual changes. Colposcope is kept close to the body for obtaining a better image but it isn’t inserted inside.
How colposcopy differ from a Pap smear test?
Pap smear test (also known as Pap test) usually involves of collecting cervical cell samples and detect any early unusual changes that can lead to cervical cancer. If abnormal cells are detected and you are confirmed as HPV positive, then a colposcopy will be done.
It helps in proper diagnosing of certain HPV problems and cancer types like vulvar, vaginal and cervical cancers. Your private GP may also recommend a colposcopy, if you experience any signs or symptoms of any of the said cancers as well.
What is actually happening at the time of colposcopy?
Colposcopy is performed by the gynaecologist in the primary care doctor’s office. You will be asked to lie down on the table by placing the heels on the stirrups at one of the table’s end. Speculum (an opening instrument) is used for inserting in the vagina to open up its walls so that the precise view of the cervix can be obtained.
As the vulva, vagina and cervix are gently wiped with the iodine or vinegar solution, the private doctor can easily detect the abnormal changes. The colposcope is placed as much near as can to the vagina but it is never inserted into the body.
What will the doctor do if abnormal cells are detected during colposcopy?
At the time of colposcopy, biopsy can be performed to examine the unhealthy areas. It is the procedure of removing smaller tissue amount from the cervix by a pathologist and analysis it. By preparing a slide of the sample under the microscope abnormal cells will be identified by the pathologist and analysis will be done accordingly.
Colposcopy is helps in suggesting that there is precancerous or cancer tissue but only biopsy is reliable for proper diagnosis. In case, a small abnormal spot is found during colposcopy it may get removed while collecting sample for performing biopsy. Biopsy type will depend on the tissue location which may consider as suspected.
In the most common method of biopsy, an instrument is used for pinching off small sample pieces from the suspicious cervical spots. Rarely, doctor prefers to perform the endocervical curettage biopsy to examine the area which can’t be observed clearly during colposcopy. Due to biopsy you may experience discomfort or pinching which is much identical to the menstrual cramps.
Local anaesthesia is also applied for numbing the area prior to perform biopsy so that level of comfort can be maintained perfectly. At the time of colposcopy, you should discuss with the doctor regarding the biopsies types available and can be performed.
What is essential to do prior to perform colposcopy?
According to the doctors, using or intake of any kind of vaginal foams, powders, creams and medicines should be stopped before 24-48 hours of performing colposcopy. In fact several other vaginal products including tampons and vaginal sex should be avoided at the same time.
However, if it is in the middle of your period or you conceive, the colposcopy appointment must be rescheduled. You will be asked whether you want to take any OTC (over-the-counter) pain reliever prior to the exam if it is associated with a biopsy.
Is there any chance of side effects due to colposcopy?
There isn’t any direct side effect of the colposcopy. But if biopsy is done at the time of colposcopy then, there is a pale chance of experiencing dark vaginal discharge for the next few days. It actually happens with the application of medicated solution by the doctor which helps in reducing bleeding during biopsy.
However, some still may experience soreness, cramping and bleeding which will disappear naturally within a few days. Instead, if they become much severe and you experience heavy bleeding along with excruciating pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen and fever, you need immediate medical attention.
Contact with your doctor on an urgent basis for obtaining right treatment before it gets too late! Prior to a few days before colposcopy it is advised not to engage in vaginal sex or insert any contraceptive methods in the vagina, until your doctor advises to do so!
What will happen after the issuance of biopsy report?
During colposcopy, if biopsy is done and it clearly depicts the presence of precancerous tissues, it should be removed on time for resisting the chance of cancer development. Before undergoing the removal surgery, your doctor is supposed to discuss which option is most suitable for you!
In case, the biopsy report clearly states the presence of cancer then, further testing is necessary before to proceed with the right treatment option. Mostly, in such instances, doctor refers the patients to a gynaecologic oncologist who is specialised in gynaecologic cancer treatment.
But more colposcopies are to be performed if it is about treating the precancerous cancer or tissues. It helps the doctor to assess the effectives of the treatment to fix the slightly noticed abnormal changes.
So, don’t waste your valuable time and visit your nearest doctor today regarding your concerns. As you can get the facility of private colposcopy service at our clinic, book an appointment today to perform the test in discreet manner.