A colposcopy is a common medical procedure that allows your women’s health specialist to identify abnormal changes in your cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of disease. The exam is done with a tool called a colposcope, which shines a bright light on the cervix and allows for a magnified view.
With locations in Newton and Walpole, Massachusetts, our OB/GYN physicians at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN ensure the colposcopy procedure is fast, effective, and nearly painless as possible.
Abnormal Pap Smear Testing at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN
If your Pap test results were abnormal, your OB/GYN doctor may recommend you have a colposcopy to examine your cervix and collect a biopsy. Call Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN in Newton at (617) 332-2345 or in Walpole at (508) 668-5555 to schedule your appointment. For your convenience, you may also request an appointment online.
Your physician may recommend a colposcopy if you have an abnormal Pap smear. A colposcopy is done to detect whether or not you have cervical cancer or to determine if there's another reason for your abnormal Pap test.
In other cases, a colposcopy can help your physician diagnose problems like:
- Sexually transmitted diseases, like genital warts
- Inflammation of your cervix
- Precancerous cells in your cervix, vagina, or vulva
When you are scheduled for a colposcopy, be sure not to put anything inside your vagina, like creams or tampons, as your doctor needs to have a clear view of your cervix. Also, don’t have vaginal intercourse for a few days before your scheduled procedure.
If you are having a heavy period the day of your procedure, call your doctor to reschedule your appointment.
Many women experience anxiety before a colposcopy procedure, but it’s an easy and nearly painless procedure.
During the procedure, you lie on your back with your feet in stirrups or straps (similar to the process of a Pap test or pelvic exam).
Your physician inserts a metal speculum into your vagina to open up the vaginal walls to provide a clear view of your cervix. To test for abnormal cells, your physician may apply a vinegar-like solution to your cervix. It may burn a little, but it will help your physician see any cells that don’t look normal. Your physician will then position the colposcope close to your vulva, which shines a bright light directly onto your cervix, giving your physician a clear view of your vaginal and cervical tissue through a lens. A sample of tissue will be collected to send away for a biopsy.
The results will give your physician an idea of what steps should be taken next. If your physician is able to remove all of your abnormal cells during the biopsy, you may not need more treatment.
If the cause of an abnormal Pap smear cannot be detected during colposcopy, your doctor may recommend an additional procedure, such as:
LEEP Procedure. During a LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) procedure, your doctor uses a small electrical wire loop to remove abnormal cells from your cervix. The cells are then sent to the lab for analysis.
If your physician takes a sample of tissue for a biopsy, you might feel some tenderness or cramping a few days after the procedure. However, most women can return to their normal activities quickly.
You may also notice some light spotting or bleeding after a colposcopy, but this is normal. Your physician might advise you to avoid using tampons or having vaginal intercourse for several days.