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The purpose of a Colposcopy is to examine the cervix for indications of cervical cancer. In most cases, this procedure is performed on women whose pap test has returned abnormal results.
What is the Doctor Looking For?
The doctor will use an imaging device, called a colposcope, to look for irregular cervical tissue. A cervix with potentially cancerous tissue may have white patches, warts, polyps or swelling. In these instances, a sample will be taken and tested.
A healthy cervix will appear pink and smooth. If everything looks normal, additional tests may be needed to determine the cause of the irregular pap results.
Preparing for the Test
There is little preparation needed for a Colposcopy. However, before having this test performed, it is highly recommended that you:
- Abstain from sex 24 to 48 hours before the procedure.
- Do not insert any products, such as tampons, into your vagina.
- Ensure the procedure date does not fall during your period.
Will it Hurt?
Some discomfort may be felt when a mild solution is used to clean and dry the cervix, but the Colposcopy should not hurt since the colposcope does not touch you. If a sample is needed, you may feel a slight pinching feeling as tissue is collected.
After the Procedure
For those who did not have a sample taken:
- No restrictions will be placed on your activity.
- Light bleeding or spotting may occur for a day or two.
For those who did have a sample taken:
- Avoid intercourse or using tampons for at least a week.
- Vaginal pain or discomfort may last a few days.
- Light bleeding may be present for a few days.
- You may notice dark vaginal discharge immediately following the Colposcopy.