Diagnostic procedures and women’s health services at LifeBridge Health include colposcopies. A colposcopy exam allows us to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone and is done when results of a Pap test show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

Who Needs a Colposcopy?

Your medical provider may recommend a colposcopy if you:


  • Have an abnormal Pap test result
  • Have abnormal results from a recent pelvic exam
  • Test positive for HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Have genital warts on the cervix
  • Have cervicitis (an inflamed cervix)
  • Have benign growths, such as polyps
  • Have pain or bleeding

What to Expect

A colposcopy is a quick test that is done in our offices. For at least 24 hours before the test, you should not douche, have sex, or use tampons or vaginal medications and it is best if you are not having a menstrual period.


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.


After the colposcopy you should feel fine right away and may have slight spotting for a couple of days.

Biopsy During Colposcopy

During a colposcopy, we may see abnormal areas and need to biopsy. 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.