If you get an abnormal result of Pap test or if your HPV test is positive for type 16 or 18, we will recommend colposcopy, which is a procedure used for a more detailed examination of the cervix. During the colposcopic examination, if we estimate that there is a need, it is possible to take a biopsy of the cervix. Not all women with an abnormal screening test (Pap test and HPV test) will need treatment. Colposcopy with or without a biopsy can help to determine if and when treatment needs to be done.
If you need a colposcopy, make an appointment at our gynecological office.
Questions and answers about colposcopy
What is colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure in which a colposcope (a microscope with different magnification lenses) gives a brightened and enlarged view of the cervix, vagina and vulva. The primary goal of colposcopy is to identify precancerous lesions and cancerous changes so that they can be treated promptly.
Why do I need a colposcopy?
We recommend colposcopy after an abnormal result of Pap test or a positive HPV test for type 16 or 18, as well as if we notice any abnormality during a routine pelvic examination.
Colposcopy can diagnose cervicitis or inflammation of the cervix, dysplasia (precancerous lesion) of the cervix, vagina or vulva, genital warts, and we can raise a serious suspicion of cervical cancer.
How do I prepare myself for a colposcopy?
-Two days before a scheduled colposcopic examination, you should not put anything in the vagina (eg vaginal suppositories or creams).
– If you have menstrual bleeding on the day of the appointment, please contact us by phone to schedule a colposcopy for another day.
– If you are taking any of the medications for preventing blood clots such as aspirin, warfarin, heparin or clopidogrel, let us know because these medicines can increase bleeding if we perform a biopsy during a colposcopy.
– If you know you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, let us know. Colposcopy is also done during pregnancy, but we do not always perform a cervical biopsy.
What does a colposcopy procedure look like?
Colposcopy is performed while lying on a gynecological examination table. After carefully insertion of speculum into your vagina, your gynecologist observes the cervix with a colposcope. The colposcope is like a microscope on a pedestal and does not touch you.
During the cervical examination, it is possible that you will feel a slight tingling sensation, nothing more than that. In case there is a need for a biopsy (removal of a small part of the abnormal tissue of the cervix or vagina), dr Davidovic-Grigoraki will inform you before performing it. Having a biopsy does not mean you have precancerous lesions. Anesthesia is not usually used before a biopsy because a biopsy causes only mild discomfort. If you insist on anesthesia, we will respect your wish. A tissue sample taken by biopsy is sent to the laboratory, where it is observed under a microscope. We will inform you about the histology result in a few days.
Some women also need a biopsy of the inner part of the cervix, ie. cervical canal. This procedure is called endocervical curettage (ECC). It can cause pain, which passes quickly in most of women. ECC is not recommended to be performed during pregnancy.
How long does a colposcopic examination take?
Colposcopy takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes. If we take a biopsy it will take about 5 minutes longer.
What can I expect after a colposcopy?
If you had a biopsy during a colposcopy, it is possible that you will have a small vaginal bleeding or a dark discharge from the vagina that lasts for a maximum of several days. Most women can return to work immediately after a colposcopy. Do not put anything in the vagina and do not have sexual intercourse for the next two days.
When should I ask for help? – Call us if you have any of the following after colposcopy:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (if you fill a full sanitary pad in an hour)
- Vaginal bleeding lasting more than 7 days
- Vaginal discharge that has a strong unpleasant odor.
- Abdominal pain that does not decrease after using ibuprofen.
- Temperature higher than 38 ° C