No one ever looks forward to a colposcopy. But it’s essential to understand what to expect during and after the procedure.
What Is a Colposcopy and What Are Its Purposes?
A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure conducted using a specialized microscope called a colposcope to examine the cervix, vulva, and vagina. Colposcopy aims to allow the healthcare provider to look at these areas to detect abnormal growth or changes.
Colposcopies are generally performed as outpatient procedures and usually only take a few minutes.
The doctor or other healthcare provider performing the procedure may apply a speculum to help visualize the cervix. Then, they may apply an iodine-based solution to remove any mucus or moisture on tissues that may interfere with visualization.
A colposcope is typically positioned several feet away from the patient’s body. Next, the images of what the colposcope sees are sent onto a screen. Biopsies may be taken using curettes or forceps if abnormalities are detected during this process.
Colposcopies are generally safe with only a few risks.
The Top 5 Things to Know about a Colposcopy
If you’re looking to get a colonoscopy in Manhattan at our office, here are the top five things to know and help you prepare for your visit:
1. A colposcopy is an essential part of cervical cancer screening.
A Pap test can detect changes in the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer, but it cannot directly determine whether these changes are cancerous. This is why most women who have abnormal results on their Pap tests will be recommended for a colposcopy examination.
2. The procedure itself is quick and typically painless.
During a colposcopy exam, you’ll be placed in a position similar to that of a pelvic exam, and the colposcope will be gently inserted into your vagina. The procedure usually takes only a few minutes, and most women report little to no discomfort during the procedure.
3. Your doctor may need to collect cells or perform other tests for further evaluation.
If any abnormalities are found during the colposcopy examination, your doctor may need to take a biopsy of cervical cells or scrape some tissue from inside your uterus (endocervical curettage).
4. Most women who have a colposcopy will not need further treatment.
The changes seen during a colposcopy will go away without any treatment in many cases. But if your doctor finds precancerous cells, they will likely recommend follow-up appointments and Pap tests to ensure the cells don’t become cancerous.
5. You should not experience any long-term side effects from a colposcopy procedure.
Although you may feel some mild discomfort during a colposcopy, most women experience no long-term side effects after the procedure.
If you’re scheduled for a colposcopy in Manhattan at our office, we hope this article has given you a good overview of what to expect.