What is a colposcopy | Medical tests

Colposcopy is the second step of early cervical cancer screening after cervical cytology.


Colposcopy is a test that allows you to see expanded form the surface of the neck of the uterus or cervix. It serves to identify at an early stage potential injuries that are known to be precursors of cancer or injury already cancerous. It also allows to take biopsies of suspicious areas to study later in the laboratory, or remove these lesions thus solving the problem.

When should I do a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is usually done when the woman has a cytology of the cervix where abnormal cells which can be cancerous or precursor of cervical cancer are detected. It is considered the second step of the cervical cancer screening after cervical cytology. This test is sometimes requested when your doctor suspects any cervical pathology following a gynaecological review.

How a colposcopy

Colposcopy is performed by means of a special microscope called a colposcope. Through the colposcope gets very expanded view of the cervix at the end of the vagina.
During the test the female tomb is face-up on a special table with the legs apart. A Speculum will be inserted to separate the vaginal walls. The doctor observes the cervix and stained its surface with different liquids, such as acetic acid or the lugol, to highlight areas where there may be abnormal cells. These suspicious regions can biopsy to study them later or, occasionally, they can be removed in its entirety.
Take samples using a pair of pliers or, if there are no visible injuries, the inside of the cervix is gently scraped for a sample. You can sometimes be a treatment of the suspected area with various instruments (by means of heat, cold, excision of the lesion, etc).
Colposcopy complications are extremely rare, and the risk of infection is very low.
It is not a painful test, and the introduction of the Speculum does not usually be uncomfortable if the woman is relaxed.
A light stinging sensation you can feel when the doctor stained with acetic acid or lugol's neck to highlight abnormal areas. In addition, you may notice some slight pinch or cramp in the pelvic region if biopsies are taken or any treatment on the neck.
During the test, or after it, there may be some bleeding.

After the test

After the colposcopy most women can make a normal life.
When an injury has been treated, it is usually applied a paste which facilitates healing and that can produce a brownish flow for a few days.
If there have been interventions on the cervix should not use tampons, do not put anything into the vagina, or have sex for at least a week after the test, or until your doctor tells you to. Your doctor may also recommend not to lift weights or do vigorous exercises for a few days.
This test will not prevent you to get pregnant in the future.
If after the completion of the test appears bleeding or major abdominal pain, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, fever or any other symptoms that worry you, you should consult your doctor.

Preparation for colposcopy

These are the issues that you must consider when you undergo a colposcopy:
Duration: the test is performed in 10-15 minutes, although it may take more time if any treatment is done.
Entry: the test is usually done on an outpatient basis, and the patient can go home the same day after its completion.
Is necessary to be accompanied?: don't have to be accompanied by although it might help if it makes you feel more relaxed.
Drugs: don't need to take any medication prior to this test. You can take your usual medication. If taken anticoagulants, check with your doctor.
Food: don't have to go on fasting.
Clothing: can wear the clothes you want.
Documents: prior to a colposcopy physician will explain the test and will provide you with an information sheet (informed consent), which must be signed, and which details the procedure and potential associated side effects. Please read this document carefully and ask the doctor questions as it considers necessary before fimarlo.
Contraindications: does not agree to perform a colposcopy during menstruation, because blood may interfere with the scan. No sexual intercourse, place any product within the vagina, nor be Douches, 24 hours prior to the test.
Pregnancy and lactation: not contraindicate the realization of the test although it is important to tell your doctor the possibility of that is pregnant.

Other considerations

You can be more comfortable if you empty the bladder and the bowel prior to testing.

Colposcopy results

The result of the study of the samples that have been taken during a colposcopy is usually available in two or three weeks.
Although there are different classifications, the result of colposcopy is usually report in the following manner:
Normal findings.
Abnormal findings: specifies the territory that affect (by within the canal of the cervix or outside), the type of discovery (abnormal, dotted vessels, etc.), and if the alteration is more or less important.
Suspicion of invasive cancer: when a suspicious lesion of cancer that goes beyond the surface of the neck and get inside.
Unsatisfactory colposcopy: when not has been able to perform well the technique.
Various finds: when inflammation, ulcers, or other diseases not related to cancer.
Your doctor will inform you about the results of the test, and will tell you if you need new revisions, or if you need to perform other procedures.
Published for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

Recommended Contents