March 17 20:02 2019 Print This Article

Colposcopy is a test usually recommended after a PAP SMEAR of the cervix (neck of the uterus) has shown abnormalities. The colposcope is like a microscope – it illuminates and magnifies the view of the surface membranesof the cervix and walls

The colposcope is mounted on a stand placed at the foot end of an examination couch, on which the woman lies with her knees bent up or supported in slings. A speculum (instrument for holding open bodycavities) is inserted to bring the cervix into view. The colposcope is then moved closeto the entrance and the focus is adjusted so that the cervix an be inspected at 10 to 15 times magnification. Painting the cervix with solutions of water and vinegar, then water and iodine, enables abnormal areas to be clearly defined, and a BIOPSY can then be taken fwm any suspicious-looking spots. Most colposcopes have an attached camera that can take photographs for comparison with pictures taken at subsequent examinations. Colposcopy of the cervix is a painless 15-minute procedure. If the walls and external genitals also need examination, it takes a bit longer.

Treatment of cervical lesions by diathermy (heat), laser or cryotherapy (freezing) is generally carried out with the help of colposcopic magnification.

Colposcopy is important because it can detect cancer of the cervix at an early stage. During colposcopy, your doctor uses a lighted magnifying device that looks like a pair of binoculars. The colposcope allows your doctor to see problems that would be missed by the naked eye. Bleeding and infection are possible after colposcopy, but are very rare. Bleeding is usually easily controlled with the application of a topical medicine at the time of the procedure. Additional conditions under which the test may be performed include cervical dysplasia. Colposcopy during pregnancy may cause complications with the pregnancy, including early labor. Colposcopy does not require any anesthetic medication because pain is minimal. If a biopsy is done, there may be mild cramps or a sharp pinching when the tissue is removed. To lessen this pain, the doctor may recommend ibuprofen taken the night before and the morning of the procedure.

How To Prepare?

  • There is no special preparation.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or might be pregnant. A blood or urine test may be done before the colposcopy to see whether you are pregnant. Colposcopy is safe during pregnancy.
  • Contact to your doctor if you are allergic to any medicines.
  • Plan to have the exam when you are not having a menstrual period. These exams are not done during a period.


  • In rare cases, a cervical biopsy can cause an infection or bleeding.
  • Major risks include pelvic or abdominal pain.
  • Colposcopy during pregnancy may cause complications with the pregnancy, including early labor.
  • If bleeding is unusually heavy or lasts for longer than 2 weeks, or if you notice any signs of infection (fever, foul odor, or discharge), notify your health care provider.

How the test will feel?

  • A colposcopy is painless.
  • Some cramping may occur after the biopsy.
  • Making an effort to concentrate on slow, regular breathing will help you relax and reduce or eliminate some pain.
  • Some women feel a slight stinging sensation caused by the vinegar solution.


  • Women who are pregnant, or who suspect that they are pregnant, must tell their doctor before the procedure begins.
  • However, special precautions must be taken during biopsy of the cervix.
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