A colposcopy is usually done at the hospital clinic and requires near about 15 to 20 minutes after which you can go back to your home.
How to prepare for a colposcopy
- for at least 24 hours before fixing the appointment avoid enjoying sex or using creams, lubricants, menstrual cups, tampons or vaginal medicines.
- bring a panty liner, as you might have some discharge or light bleeding afterward
- you can eat and drink normally
You need to contact the clinic before your appointment if:
- your period might arrive during the appointment time – you will usually be able to have the procedure, but in certain cases, you are suggested to postpone it
- you become pregnant – a colposcopy is safe enough at the time of pregnancy, however, a biopsy and any kind of treatment will be postponed till a few months after giving birth
- you want the entire treatment to be done by a female doctor or nurse
You may bring a friend, family member or partner with you at the hospital if it can help you feel more at ease.
About the colposcopy procedure
A colposcopy is usually performed by a specialist known as a colposcopist. This might be a doctor or a trained nurse.
What happens during the procedure:
- you undress from the waist down and then lie in a chair that has padded support for your legs
- a device known as speculum gets inserted into the vagina and opened gently which is quite similar to performing a cervical screening test
- a microscope that has a colposcope or a light used to look at the cervix which remains outside your vagina
- liquids can be applied to your cervix that will emphasize on abnormal areas – you might feel burning sensation or mild tingling when these have been applied
- a biopsy or a small sample of tissue that might be removed for closer examination in the laboratory – this should not involve much pain but you might feel stinging sensation or slight pinch
If you are having abnormal cells in the cervix, then you might be asked to perform colposcopy treatment for removing the cells immediately. Otherwise, you have to wait for sometimes till you can get your biopsy result.
What happens after a colposcopy
- you can return back to home soon when you feel ready
- you can get back to your normal activities which include – work and driving immediately though you prefer to take rest till the next day
- you might have light bleeding or brownish vaginal discharge if you had a biopsy – this is quite obvious and should stop after 3 to 5 days
- wait till the bleeding stops before you may enjoy sex or use lubricants, tampons, creams, menstrual cups or vaginal medicines
- Your gynae might tell what they have found right away
If you have had a biopsy, then it should be checked in the laboratory. You have to wait for a few weeks in order to get the results.
Risks associated with a colposcopy
A colposcopy is considered to be a safe method that does not lead to serious problems.
You might be having certain side effects such as:
- discomfort or pain – inform your colposcopist if you think the procedure is painful so that they may try to make you feel comfortable
- brown vaginal discharge – this is usually caused due to the liquids used for highlighting unusual cells in your cervix that should pass soon
- light bleeding – this may take place in case you have a a biopsy that should pass within 3 to 5 days
It is advised to consult with a private GP when you are having persistent bleeding which seems to be heavy than your normal periods, stomach ache or smelly vaginal discharge. You need to talk to your private gynaecologist for additional information on the Colposcopy and what it involves.