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A colposcopy is a method in which your doctor uses a special magnifying device to look at your vulva, vagina and cervix.  The magnifying tool (colposcope) magnifies the view 2 to 60 times so the doctor can see any problems that may not be seen with the naked eye.  It isn’t uncommon for a doctor to put vinegar or iodine on the vagina and cervix with a cotton swab in order to see potential problem areas more clearly.  A camera can also be attached to the colposcope to take pictures or even videos of the vagina and cervix for further investigation and permanent record keeping. 

If the doctor locates a problem during colposcopy, a biopsy may be taken from the cervix or from the inside of the opening of the cervix and viewed more closely under a microscope.  This method is often performed when there is an abnormal Pap test.  There are many reasons why a Pap test would come back abnormally including viral infections and cervical cell changes.  Talk to your doctor about other causes to an abnormal Pap test. 

How you should prepare
Before a colposcopy is performed, there are a number of things you should disclose to your doctor.  Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Are pregnant or might be pregnant
  • Are taking any medications
  • Are allergic to any medicines.
  • Have a bleeding problem or take any blood thinners such as aspirin.
  • Have been treated for vaginal, cervical, or pelvic infection in the past.
It is important to schedule your colposcopy for when you are not having your period.  If you are having your period, it could make it difficult for your doctor to view your cervix.  Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have regarding preparing for a colposcopy and what to expect when the procedure is completed. 

After the test
Once the test has been completed, and depending on if you have had a biopsy, you may feel slight discomfort such as soreness in your vagina for 24-48 hours.  It is common to experience some vaginal bleeding or discharge up to a week after a biopsy.  It is important that you do not douche, have sexual intercourse or use tampons for a week following your colposcopy.  You should consult with your doctor after your procedure if you have:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • A fever
  • Stomach pains
  • Bad-smelling vaginal discharge

If you would like to learn more about a colposcopy or other women’s services we provide, please contact us today at (770) 297-2200.