If you’ve ever gotten a Pap smear, it’s equally important to get familiar with the lowdown on Colposcopy. But to do so, you must first understand what it actually means.
So, what exactly is a Colposcopy anyway?
Well, for starters, a colposcopy is a procedure to closely examine your cervix, vagina and vulva. The doctor may at this time also perform a biopsy, which is used in attempts to help diagnose cervical cancer.
While a Pap smear helps your OBGYN look out for any cell changes on the cervix, a colposcopy inspects those abnormal cells with the use of a microscope and bright light. The colposcope, which is a decently-sized microscope, does not get inserted into the vagina, but magnifies the cervix to have a better view of any sort of changes. It’s essentially a slightly more intricate version of a Pap smear.
Though this information may seem a bit on the scary side, there’s no need to freak out or be on the fence about it. The procedure isn’t something to be afraid of – in fact, it is very similar to the process of a pelvic exam. You’ll lay down with your legs in stirrups while your OBGYN inserts the speculum. The colposcope is positioned 8 to 10 inches from the vagina with a bright light. Your provider will use a vinegar solution or something of that nature to help highlight any abnormal areas and tissues.
Colposcopies are usually suggested by your OBGYN if your Pap smear shows any abnormal cervical cells. There are 2 types of biopsies: the one that removes tissue from outside your cervix, and the other that takes tissue from inside the opening of your cervix. Sometimes you are required to have more than one biopsy.
Try not to schedule your examination while you are menstruating. For at least 24 hours before the examination, you shouldn’t do any form of douching, or use tampons along with any other products that enter the vagina, have sex, or use any vaginal medications.
Some might suggest taking a pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen just before your colposcopy appointment. You want to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible, while avoiding any chances of slight pain or discomfort.
If abnormal tissue is found, small pieces of tissue can be removed from your vagina and/or cervix thanks to the use of biopsy instruments.
Your OBGYN might apply a solution to the area of the biopsy to decrease bleeding.
A colposcopy normally doesn’t cause any more discomfort than an average Pap smear. Some women, however, tend to feel a sting from the acetic acid solution used for the procedure.
Cervical biopsies can cause some issues like a slight pinch from when each tissue gets removed, discomfort, cramping, and pain, that can last for up to 1 to 2 days, or even slight vaginal bleeding and a coffee-colored vaginal discharge that could last up to a week.
There’s no recovery time unless you go through a biopsy. You can go about your daily activities once it’s over with.
In the case that you do end up having a biopsy during your colposcopy, you might need to limit your activity to allow your cervix to heal.
Reach out to your OBGYN if you feel any heavy vaginal bleeding, severe pain in the lower abdomen, or a fever or chills following after your examination.
Remember how important it is to get regular Pap smears as it’s always better to be safe than sorry! If you are looking for a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale who you can feel comfortable with,, Dr. Ghea is the one for you to call! She is more than happy to take care of you while also providing you with all the women’s health tips you may need. Book an appointment with her today at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation obgyn office, by calling 954-473-2011.