When your Pap test results indicate abnormal cells, or, if your doctor wants to assess problems such as genital warts on the cervix, an inflamed cervix (cervicitis) or, to check the result of treatment, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy. This is a medical procedure that uses a small binocular microscope (a colposcope) to examine your cervix.
You should not use vaginal medication, douches, or tampons, and avoid having sexual intercourse for 24hrs prior to the colposcopy. Also, this test should not be done when menstruating.
This procedure is done in our Libertyville office and is similar to what you experience during a Pap test. The doctor will place a speculum into your vagina to see your cervix. The colposcope is then used to view your cervix from outside your body – it is not inserted internally. Diluted vinegar is applied to your cervix and areas that are abnormal turn white and can be seen more easily. A biopsy can then be taken of any abnormal areas. This may cause mild pain and cramping (much like menstrual cramps). Cells are usually also removed from the endocervical canal (the opening to the uterus in the center of the cervix) with a small spoon-shaped tool called a curette; this takes about 10 seconds. All specimens are sent to the lab for review by a pathologist.
You may have a brownish discharge for a few days afterward. Over the next several days your cervix will heal and to help prevent infection you should avoid tampons, douching, and sexual intercourse.
For more information on colposcopy: