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Why has my doctor sent me for a colposcopy?

If you have had an abnormal cervical screening test (CST) or symptoms of abnormal bleeding or discharge your doctor may send you for a Colposcopy.

A colposcopy is a test that allows your Doctor to look at your cervix using magnification. Biopsies or removing small tissue at the time of the colposcopy for examination in a laboratory small samples may also be done at the time of the colposcopy.

The colposcope magnifies the appearance of the cervix.

Acetic acid or vinegar is placed on the cervix and vagina to stain the cells and to allow the Doctor to better see where the abnormal cells are located and the size of any abnormal areas.

When monitored and treated early, pre-cancerous areas usually do not develop into cervical cancer.

Preparing for Colposcopy

Before your colposcopy appointment, you should not put anything in the vagina (eg, creams).

Colposcopy can be done at any time during your menstrual cycle, but if you have heavy vaginal bleeding on the day of your appointment, call your healthcare provider to ask if you should reschedule.

If you take any medication to prevent blood clots (aspirin, warfarin, heparin, clopidogrel), notify your healthcare provider in advance. These medications can increase bleeding if you have a biopsy during the colposcopy.

If you know or think you could be pregnant, let your healthcare provider know. Colposcopy is safe during pregnancy, although healthcare providers usually do not perform biopsies of the cervix when you are pregnant.

After Colposcopy

If you have a biopsy of your cervix, you may have some vaginal bleeding after the colposcopy. If your provider used the liquid bandage solution, you may have brown or black vaginal discharge that looks like coffee grounds. This should resolve within a few days.

Most women are able to return to work or school immediately after having a colposcopy. Some women have mild pain or cramping, but this usually goes away within one to two hours, this can be helped with NSAID’s like Ibuprofen tablets.

Do not put anything in the vagina (creams, douches, tampons) and do not have sex for 48 hours after having a biopsy.

If you have a biopsy, ask your Doctorwhen your results will be available (usually within 7 to 14 days). In most cases, further testing and treatment will depend on the results of the biopsy.

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