What is Colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a gynecological procedure of closely examining your cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of any disease. This procedure is adopted when the doctors find the Pap Test reports abnormal. Here a special instrument called a Colposcope is used to examine closely. If the doctor finds something unusual in the Colposcopy procedure, a sample tissue can be collected for lab testing, this process is called a cervical biopsy.
Colposcopy process requirements can vary depending upon an individuals tests, types of Colposcopy and health problems. Usually, it is undertaken only when the doctor has recommended it. It is done in certain cases:
- When on Cervix examination, the Pap Smear Test is abnormal
- When cervix looks abnormal during the collection of Pap Smear
- Tests show that you have human papillomavirus or HPV
- Unexplained bleeding or other problems
- Burning sensation in the vagina
- Constant pain or irritation in the vagina
Who is at Risk?
Colposcopy procedure or cervical biopsy is undertaken depending upon ones intimate health conditions and severity of it. Certain red flags for when doctors can advise Colposcopy procedure are:
- Cervical abnormality
- Mild, moderate or severe dysplasia
- People who have abnormal Pap Smear test result
Colposcopy is a process to conduct an examination on the cervix, vagina, and vulva. The reasons for discomfort, pain or burning sensation in these areas can vary depending upon the health conditions, infection, age, etc. And therefore the test is advised by the doctors after undergoing certain processes. Some of the causes of undertaking Colposcopy procedure are:
- Genital warts
- Polyps on the cervix
- Cervical cancer
- Precancerous or dysplasia symptoms
- Presence of human papillomavirus
How is Colposcopy diagnosis done?
For the Colposcopy process, the doctors use a special instrument called the Colposcope. The Colposcope allows for an exemplified view of the cells with greater clarity. The diagnosis is done in a Doctors chamber and usually takes about 10-20 minutes.
- Much like Pelvic exam or a Pap Smear, the test requires examination of the cells of vagina, cervix, and vulva
- The doctor places a metal speculum in the Vagina to open the walls of the vagina so that cervix is clearly seen
- The magnifying instrument called Colposcope is positioned a few inches away from the vulva, and bright light is used to look through the Colposcope and examine.
- Doctors sometimes use a solution to highlight any suspicious areas when examining through Colposcope. The Cervix or vagina is also swabbed with cotton to clear away any mucus and get a clear view.
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How to prepare for Colposcopy?
Colposcopy treatment is a procedure usually scheduled at least one week after your periods. This helps doctors to have a clear view of the cervix and also take the samples well is cervical biopsy is undertaken. Before scheduling or beginning with the process, doctors help you prepare in certain ways. These include:
- Doctors ask you to stop any other medication that could increase the risk of bleeding like warfarin, ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, etc.
- Avoid using tampons, genital creams, etc at least 24-48 hours before the procedure
- Avoid having sexual intercourse 24-48 hours before the test
- An over-the-counter pain reliever is given before conducting the process
How to recover from Colposcopy?
If your Colposcopy doctor doesn't take a Cervical Biopsy sample during the Colposcopy diagnosis, you might not need to take rest at the clinic and can immediately resume activities. Slight spotting or bleeding from the Vagina in the next two days is common. But if the biopsy sample is taken, here are some of the things you may experience:
- Vaginal pain for the next two days
- Light bleeding and spotting for 2-5 days
- Dark discharge from Vagina for 2-3 days
Using a sanitary pad to catch the blood or discharge. It is recommended to restrict using tampons, douching, or vaginal intercourse until one week after the biopsy.
How can Colposcopy complications be prevented?
Colposcopy is a safe procedure usually conducted by a qualified doctor. Although all safety measures are undertaken, on rare occasions some complications might occur, like:
- Excessive bleeding
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Chills in the body
- Excessive abdominal pain
It is safe to consult your doctor at the earliest.
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