Colposcopy shines a light into the vagina and onto the cervix, greatly enlarging the normal view. This exam allows us to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone.

Colposcopy is done when results of cervical cancer screening tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Colposcopy provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy also may be used to assess:

  • Genital warts on the cervix
  • Cervicitis (an inflamed cervix)
  • Benign growths, such as polyps
  • Pain or bleeding

What to Expect

Colposcopy is done in our office. It is best if the patient is not having her menstrual period. For at least 24 hours before the test, you should not douche, have sex, or use tampons or vaginal medications.

You will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on foot rests for support. A speculum will be used to hold apart the vaginal walls so that the inside of the vagina and the cervix can be seen. A colposcope is placed just outside the opening of your vagina and a mild solution is applied to your cervix and vagina with cotton. This liquid makes abnormal areas on the cervix easier to see. You may feel a slight burning.

If you have a colposcopy without a biopsy, you should feel fine right away. You can do the things you normally do. You may have a little spotting for a couple of days.

Biopsy During Colposcopy

During colposcopy, we may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas may be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the cervix.

After a colposcopy with a biopsy, you may have pain, discomfort, and vaginal discharge or bleeding for one or two days. While the cervix heals, you will be told not to put anything into your vagina for a short time. Do not have sex, use tampons or douche.