Why do I need a colposcopy?
Catching a medical problem early is the best possible scenario. If your doctor has spotted something unusual during your gynecological exam or you have had an abnormal pap smear, a colposcopy can do just that.
What is a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a procedure to closely examine your vulva, vagina, and cervix for signs of disease. This is done to check for precancerous changes in the area, genital warts, and even noncancerous tissue called “polyps.”
A colposcopy is different than a pap smear. In a pap smear, cells are taken from your cervix and tested for any signs of abnormality that may be an indication of cancer. A colposcopy is used as a more in-depth examination to confirm or diagnose a problem that your pap smear may have indicated you have.
During a colposcopy, you’ll have your feet up in stirrups just as you would for your annual exam. Your doctor will use a speculum to open up your vagina and then the colposcope, a magnifying instrument, is placed very close to your vulva so that he or she can examine the area. If there is any suspicious tissue, your doctor will collect a sample for further testing.
If the sample is collected from the cervix, it is usually not painful but is uncomfortable. If the tissue is taken from the vagina or vulva, it can be painful – your doctor may anesthetize the area before the sample is taken.
After the colposcopy
If your doctor didn’t take a sample, there will be no restrictions after the procedure. However, if a sample was taken, you might have vaginal pain and/or light bleeding for a few days. You should avoid sex and using tampons for about a week after the procedure (follow your doctor’s instructions). If your colposcopy results are abnormal, you may need to have tissue removed to keep cancer from developing, or another treatment may be recommended.
Your gynecological exam is an important part of catching problems early and keeping you healthy. If it is time for an exam, or if something just doesn’t seem right, call the Women’s Health Medical Group. Call (817) 345-5336 to schedule an appointment today.