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What is a Colposcopy?

What is a Colposcopy?

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For most women, a trip to the gynecologist is routine and not likely to cause any concern. But when the doctor finds abnormal results, it can cause anxiety, uncertainty, and plenty of questions about the next steps. To be as prepared as possible for these kinds of instances, it is very important to have a Gynecologist in Lake Success who is reliable, experienced and understands what you are going through.

How Does it Work?

A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure used to closely examine your cervix, vulva, and vagina for any signs of disease. A doctor may recommend that you get a colposcopy after having received an abnormal Pap test or pelvic exam result. The procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office and lasts around 10 to 20 minutes, on average. A Gynecologist in Lake Success can perform this procedure for you.

During the procedure, the patient lies on their back with their feet on supports, just like a pap test or pelvic exam. The doctor will then place a metal speculum into the patient’s vagina to hold the walls of it open. This gives the doctor a good view of the cervix so that they can get clear results. Next, the doctor positions a colposcope (a magnifying instrument) a few inches away from the vulva and shines a light into the vagina. The colposcope acts similar to binoculars, giving the doctor a much closer look through the lenses. 

After the colposcopy is in place, the doctor will swab the cervix and vagina with a cotton swab to clear away any mucus. They will then go in with a vinegar solution to highlight the areas with any suspicious cells. If the doctor finds any suspicious cells during the colposcopy, they will perform a biopsy in which they will take a small sample of tissue and send it in for laboratory testing. A sharp biopsy instrument is used to remove and collect a small piece of tissue. There may be a small amount of pain after removing the tissue, depending on where it was taken from:

  • Cervical biopsy: After this procedure, you may feel mild discomfort, pressure, or cramping. However, it should not be painful.
  • Vaginal biopsy: This procedure can cause pain when administered to the lower part of the vulva or vagina. The doctor will likely apply a local anesthetic to numb the area during the procedure to avoid discomfort.

What Do Doctors Look For?

As previously mentioned, Our Gynecologist in Lake Success will be looking for any abnormal or suspicious cells during the colposcopy. If you have a colposcopy done and the doctor does not see any abnormalities and does not perform a biopsy, you likely have nothing to worry about. If your doctor does find some suspicious cells, they will inform you about any further testing and when you can expect to receive results regarding the biopsy. The suspicious cells can identify a range of different conditions or nothing at all. Some of these conditions that a colposcopy can help identify include:

  • Genital warts
  • Inflammation of the cervix
  • Precancerous changes of the vulva
  • Precancerous changes in vaginal tissue
  • Precancerous changes in cervical tissue
  • Non-cancerous growths

How to Prepare for a Colposcopy

To prepare for your colposcopy, your doctor may recommend that you follow a list of procedures for a few days beforehand to get the most accurate results. Some of the preparations that your doctor may recommend include:

  • Avoid getting your colposcopy during your period
  • Do not have vaginal intercourse for 1 to 2 days before your colposcopy
  • Do not use tampons for 1 to 2 days before your colposcopy
  • Do not use vaginal medications for 1 to 2 days before your colposcopy
  • Do not take over the counter pain relievers before going to your colposcopy appointment
  • Relax before coming in for your appointment

It is normal to feel some anxiety before a doctor’s appointment, especially when you are having a procedure done. However, being anxious during your colposcopy can make the procedure more painful than it would be if you were relaxed. Finding a way to cope with your anxiety beforehand will be very beneficial in the long run. To manage your anxiety, it may be helpful to find an activity that soothes you, research the procedure so that you know what to expect or ask your doctor any questions you might have.

Risks and Side Effects

There are very few risks to receiving this procedure. Colposcopies are very safe and are not likely to cause harm to the patient. There are a few complications that can occur from receiving a biopsy, but they are very rare. These complications include heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and infections. It is very important to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of these complications to help make sure your health remains stable. Some signs of these complications can include chills, fever, severe abdominal pain, and bleeding that is heavier than your period would be.

If you had a biopsy during your colposcopy, it is common to experience a few side effects for the next two days. You may experience:

  • Spotting or very light bleeding
  • Vaginal or vulvar pain
  • A dark discharge from your vagina

If you do experience any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to use a pad to catch the blood rather than a tampon. Your doctor or Gynecologist in Lake Success may advise you to avoid using tampons, douching, or vaginal intercourse for about a week following your biopsy.

Gynecologist in Lake Success

If you are looking for a Gynecologist in Lake Success, Women for Women may be the right option for you! Here at Women for Women, we offer a wide range of women’s health services including Colposcopies. We offer the best care for women from puberty through menopause and can help you through any complications! Contact us today to make an appointment!