Understanding Colposcopy

What is a Colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a procedure that allows a physician to examine a woman’s cervix and vagina using a special microscope called a colposcope. The procedure steps include a speculum is placed just outside the opening of the vagina. A mild solution is applied to the cervix and vagina with a cotton swab. This liquid makes abnormal areas on the cervix easier to see. During colposcopy, the health care provider may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas may be done. A sampling of the inner cervical canal may also be done.

Call your provider immediately or walk-in to the GYN Emergent Care Center immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding resulting in using more than one liner/pad each hour.
  • Severe lower abdominal pain
  • Fever or Chills
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge

What is Dysplasia?

Dysplasia is a condition in which healthy cells on the cervix undergo some abnormal changes. n cervical dysplasia, the abnormal cells are not cancerous, but can develop into cancer if it is not caught early and treated.


Types of Dysplasia

  • CIN1: Least serious that show not many cells as abnormal.
  • CIN2: Moderately serious with more tissue appearing abnormal.
  • CIN3: Most serious showing most of the cells as abnormal.

What causes a Colposcopy to be needed?

When results of a pap smear show traces of abnormal cells, the procedure may be required. Other reasons that physicians may suggest this procedure include:

  • Bleeding
  • Benign growths or polyps on cervix or vagina
  • Inflamed Cervix
  • Persistent high-risk HPV.
  • Pain

How to prepare for the procedure

It is highly recommended to have the procedure done when a woman is not on her period to allow the physician to have a better view of the cervix. You will need to reschedule your Colposcopy if you are on your period.

24 hours before, DO NOT!

  • Use any tampons
  • Apply or take any vaginal medications
  • Have intercourse
  • Insert a douche

Post-Colposcopy Pain & Treatment

Without Colposcopy Biopsy
After a Colposcopy, you are expected to feel fine almost immediately after a Colposcopy. It is possible to experience minimal spotting for a couple days but you can continue to do things normally. 

With Colposcopy Biopsy
You may experience pain and discomfort, vaginal bleeding or dark discharge for a couple days. You can wear a panty liner or pad, depending on the amount. Over the counter medications can be taken to relieve some of the pain.

  • Do not use tampons, a douche or have sex during the recovery time limit provided by your physician.

Colposcopy Biopsy Results

Abnormal cells successfully removed
If your physician is able to remove the abnormal cells during your procedure, additional treatment may not be required. If the biopsy is benign and is concordant with the pap smear results, then repeat pap smear in 6-12 months.

Positive Abnormalities still detected
If CIN is present or persistent then additional treatment procedure may be required. Possible further procedures: Cone biopsy, Cryotherapy, LEEP.

Colposcopy and Cervical Cancer

When biopsy results show the presence of cancer, your physician may require further tests to exam how far the cancer has spread. Every patient and their circumstance differs from each other. Not all have the same path of treatment. You will be referred to a specialist a gynecology oncologist to complete the work up and treatment.

When the inside of the urethra and bladder are examined with a lighted device.

Using a lighted tube, the rectum is visually inspected to check for the spread of cancer.

A pelvic exam may be performed while under anesthesia to check for the spread of cancer.

When the tumor is larger or if there is concern about cancer spread then a CT Scan will be ordered.

Next Step Procedures

Cone Biopsy – A cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix is removed.

Cryotherapy – Liquid gas is used to freeze the abnormal cells from the cervix.

LEEP – Using a wire loop that carries an electric current is used to remove abnormal cells.


Colposcopy Cost

Cost of this procedure will depend on your insurance. Contact our billing specialists at 562-634-8812 or chat 24/7 www.completewomencare.com for further questions.


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