Colposcopy (kol-POS-kuh-pee) is a procedure to closely examine your cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of disease. During colposcopy, your doctor uses a special instrument called a colposcope. Your doctor may recommend colposcopy if your Pap test has shown abnormal results. If your doctor finds an unusual area of cells during colposcopy, a sample of tissue can be collected for laboratory testing (biopsy). Many women experience anxiety before their colposcopy exams. Knowing what to expect during your colposcopy may help you feel more comfortable.
Your doctor may recommend colposcopy if a Pap test or pelvic exam revealed abnormalities. Colposcopy can be used to diagnose: • Cervical cancer • Genital warts • Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) • Precancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix • Precancerous changes in the tissue of the vagina • Precancerous changes of the vulva • Vaginal cancer • Vulvar cancer
- Heavy bleeding
- Pelvic pain
Colposcopy is a safe procedure that carries very few risks. Rarely, complications from biopsies taken during colposcopy can occur, including:
- Bleeding that is heavier than what you typically experience during your period
- Severe abdominal pain
Signs and symptoms that may indicate complications include:
Call your doctor if you experience any of these signs and symptoms after your colposcopy.