WHAT IS COLPOSCOPY?
Colposcopy is a close examination of the cervix or neck of the womb using a special microscope called a colposcope. The colposcope can also be used to examine for abnormal cells in the female genital tract, either inside or on the outside of the vagina. Colposcopy enables the doctor take a closer look at the genital tract to assess whether further treatment is required.
WHEN IS COLPOSCOPY RECOMMENDED?
Colposcopy is recommended following an abnormal pap smear. It is also recommended for women with other symptoms such as post coital bleeding and for those with excessive Vulval itching especially if they are menopausal.
HOW IS COLPOSCOPY DONE?
Having a colposcopy is similar to having a pap smear but it may take up to 15mins. A Colposcopy procedure involves the following
- A speculum is first inserted into the vagina.
- A pap smear may be repeated.
- The colposcope is placed as close as possible to the entrance of the vagina.
- The cervix is then examined through the colposcope. The colposcope magnifies the cervix about 15 – 30 times
- A weak vinegar solution is then applied to the cervix to highlight any areas containing abnormal cells on the cervix.
- Abnormal cervical cells turn white with weak vinegar solution
- A biopsy is then collected from these abnormal areas and sent to the laboratory for test. A biopsy involves removal of tiny pieces of tissue from any areas of concern
- Usually iodine solution is also applied to the cervix after the weak vinegar and the cervix viewed using a different light. Abnormal cells on the cervix do not take up the iodine stain.
- The iodine solution may produce a brown vaginal discharge for a few days after the procedure.
- Some vaginal spotting may also occur where a cervical biopsy have been taken.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A COLPOSCOPY?
Colposcopy is not performed while you are having your period. Because some women may experience cramping lower abdominal pain during the procedure, it may be helpful to take a simple painkiller about an hour before the procedure.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
In general, you do not need to take time off work after a colposcopy. However, the following precautions are necessary
- Please wear a pad for a few days to prevent staining of your underwear by the iodine solution.
- Please avoid heavy physical exercise for 24hours after biopsy.
- Please avoid penetrative sexual intercourse for a week after the procedure especially following a biopsy.
- Avoid swimming, bathing and spas for about 3 days to reduce the risk of vaginal infections
- You may require additional painkillers after a biopsy has been taken.
- Please contact your doctor if you have any heavy bleeding, fever or offensive vaginal discharge.
OBTAINING RESULTS AND FOLLOW UP CARE
We will arrange an appointment for your follow up care at JUNIC Specialist Center. At your follow up appointment we will discuss the results of any biopsies taken and recommend appropriate treatment for you.
WHERE CAN I GET THE PROCEDURE DONE?
You can get the procedure performed at JUNIC SPECIALIST IMAGING AND WOMENS CENTER.