Screening for cervical cancer (either by Pap test and/or human papillomavirus testing) is an important part of staying healthy and avoiding cervical cancer. If you have an abnormal pap smear, a colposcopy to examine your cervix carefully is likely the next step in determining the cause. The gynecologists at Commonwealth OB-GYN in Brookline Village, Brookline, Massachusetts, use colposcopy to diagnose a variety of cervical abnormalities. You can schedule an appointment for a colposcopy by calling the office.
A colposcopy is a test that provides a better view of your cervix than is possible with the naked eye. During this simple procedure, your doctor uses a colposcope, a magnifying device that stays outside of your body, to obtain a clear, detailed view.
Acetic acid or vinegar is placed on the cervix and vagina to stain the cells and allow the clinician to see better where the abnormal cells are located and the size of any abnormal areas. Biopsies may be done to evaluate the abnormal cells.
Before your colposcopy appointment, do not put anything in the vagina (e.g., creams).
Colposcopy can be performed at any time during your menstrual cycle, but if you have heavy vaginal bleeding on the day of your appointment, call your healthcare provider to ask if you should reschedule.
If you take any medication to prevent blood clots (e.g., aspirin, warfarin, heparin, clopidogrel), notify your healthcare provider in advance. These medications can increase bleeding if you have a biopsy during the colposcopy.
If you know or think you could be pregnant, tell your health care provider. Colposcopy is safe during pregnancy, although health care providers usually do not perform biopsies of the cervix when you are pregnant.
Most women can return to work or school immediately after a colposcopy. Some women have mild pain or cramping that usually goes away within one to two hours.
If you have a biopsy of your cervix, you may have some vaginal bleeding after the colposcopy. If your provider used the liquid bandage solution, you may have brown or black vaginal discharge that looks like coffee grounds. This should resolve within a few days.
Do not put anything in the vagina (e.g., creams, douches, tampons), and do not have sex for seven days after having a biopsy.
If you have a biopsy, ask your healthcare provider when your results will be available (usually within seven to 14 days). In most cases, further testing and treatment will depend on the results of the biopsy.
When you’ve had an abnormal Pap smear, contact the team at Commonwealth OB-GYN to schedule a colposcopy.