What is Colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a procedure carried out by a doctor using a colposcope to examine the cervix, lower part of the womb and the top of the vagina. The procedure is similar to a pap smear; it takes about 15 minutes to carry out the procedure.
When is Colposcopy needed?
Colposcopy is recommended after a cervical screening if the result shows
You can also be asked to carry out colposcopy if you have unexplained bleeding after your period or sex.
Conditions Diagnosed by Colposcopy
Colposcopy can diagnose
Before Carrying out Colposcopy
To get the accurate result, a few days before the procedure
Go with a panty liner as you may observe light bleeding or discharge after the procedure
Carrying out Colposcopy- the procedure
The procedure is carried out by a specialist (colposcopist) in a hospital. It takes between 15-20 minutes.
You will need to undress from the waist down and be asked to lie down on a special type of with padded support for the legs. A speculum is used to open the vagina gently. A light microscope is used to observe your cervix. A special liquid that makes abnormal cells more visible is applied. The professional carrying out the procedure may choose to remove a small sample of tissue (biopsy) for close examination in the laboratory.
After the Procedure
You can go home immediately the procedureis concluded. Regular activities like driving can be done after the procedure. Brownish vaginal discharge or bleeding may be noticed especially if a biopsy was carried out, this is supposed to cease after 3 days. You would be advised to avoid sex and use of any vaginal product until the bleeding ceases.
Results of Colposcopy
A normal result shows the absence of any abnormal cell, and you do not need to be disturbed, but you may be asked to return for cervical screening in 3 to 5 years.
An abnormal result would indicate the presence of
If a biopsy is carried out, the following may be found
Treatment of Abnormal Cells
There are different types of treatment for abnormal cells discovered during colposcopy. A treatment option is usually recommended by the physician depending on the type of abnormal cell found.
After treatment, it is advisable to avoid the use of tampons, avoid sex, exercise, and swimming for at least two weeks or bleeding and discharge ceases.
Risks and Side Effects of Colposcopy
Some side effects you may experience after treatments are;
Mild pain- the pains may last for a few hours. Over the counter pain killers like ibuprofen can be taken for this.
Vaginal bleeding and brownish discharge- it is possible to experience this for up to 4 weeks. Complications may arise such as
Increased risk of premature birth to be noticed in the future.
Consult your physician as soon as you notice any abnormal sign like increased body temperature, heavy, yellow, smelly vaginal discharge, severe lower abdominal pain after taking a pain killer.