How to prepare before colposcopy?
You should schedule your colposcopy appointment only before or after your periods (never when you are menstruating).
You just need to take a few simple precautions for 2 days before the colposcopy procedure:
- Do not have sex (vaginal intercourse)
- Do not use tampons
- Do not use vaginal creams
- Do not take an over the counter pain medication
Also, let your doctor know
- If you are pregnant
- If you are on any blood-thinning medications (Aspirin, Heparin, Warfarin)
Certain conditions, such as acute cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix), can cause extreme pain during colposcopy. Hence, the doctor will treat these conditions before going for the procedure.
How is a colposcopy performed?
Colposcopy is usually done at a doctor's office or clinic, and it typically takes 10 to 20 minutes.
Usually, the procedure is not very painful, so it may not need any pain medication or anesthesia. Comfort-wise, it is usually similar to a Pap test.
You are asked to lie on your back with your feet supported on the sides in the same way when you have a Pap test or a pelvic exam.
The doctor will then insert a special instrument (speculum) into your vagina that helps in expanding (dilating) the vaginal opening.
A long tube with a camera (colposcope) is mounted just near to your vulva in such a way that it lights the entire path from inside the vagina up to the cervix. This allows the doctor to visualize your vagina, vulva, and cervix. The doctor then clears the area of mucus or other discharge.
The doctor may apply a solution containing acetic acid or vinegar to your cervix, which may cause a mild burning sensation. This solution highlights the abnormal regions in and around the cervix.
If the doctor finds suspicious areas in the vagina, vulva, or the cervix, they remove a small piece (biopsy) and send it to the laboratory for examination under a microscope. The biopsy results show if the abnormality is due to inflammation, infection, or is precancerous.