Certain routine tests are to be expected as part of your annual gynecology examination with your OB/GYN provider at Women’s Health Services. Our talented medical team serves many women of all ages throughout Arlington, Texas, from two convenient locations.
These tests can often include a Pap smear, depending on your age and situation, and a test for the human papilloma virus (HPV). If you are positive for HPV or you have an abnormal Pap smear result, your OB/GYN may recommend another test.
While it may sound ominous, this test is nothing to fear. Learn more about a colposcopy, what it can reveal, and what you can expect when facing this test at our medical offices.
What is a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a procedure performed with a special scope, called a colposcope, which is like an advanced set of binoculars fixed on a framework for support and movement.
Not to be confused with a colonoscopy, which closely examines the large intestine and rectum, a colposcopy examines your genitals and inside your vagina to detect abnormalities or other issues of concern. These can include:
- Cervical cancer
- Genital warts
- Inflamed cervix
- Precancerous changes
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
The colposcope doesn’t touch you and you don’t experience pain. The entire procedure usually takes around 15 minutes.
What happens during a colposcopy?
One of our medical support team members makes you comfortable and helps you prepare for the exam. You lie on your back on the exam table and place your feet in the stirrups. We respect your privacy and dignity at all times. We can also answer any questions.
Your OB/GYN provider at Women’s Health Services first dilates your cervix (the opening of your uterus) with a speculum. This is actually the most uncomfortable part of the entire procedure. It’s similar to a Pap smear.
Your provider applies a solution to your cervix that makes it easier to detect any changes or abnormal cells that may be present. She then uses the colposcope to examine the entire area. This special scope uses a light and powerful magnification lenses to allow your provider to see clearly.
If she detects any abnormal tissue, your provider may obtain a biopsy for more thorough testing. In this case, you may feel a slight pinch as she removes a small amount of the tissue in question.
What can I expect after a colposcopy?
You may feel some discomfort after your colposcopy, similar to slight cramps at the beginning of your menstrual period. Over-the-counter pain meds should suffice to keep you comfortable until they subside. This can take a day or so.
If your OB/GYN obtained a biopsy of any tissue, you may also notice some slight bleeding or dark discharge. Use a menstrual pad to absorb this. Don’t use tampons, douche, or have sex for at least a week after your colposcopy.
Your provider shares more about what to expect, what is normal, and what is abnormal after your colposcopy. Of course, you can always call our clinic with your questions or concerns. We will be in contact soon after your test to report any findings.
Schedule a gynecology exam or colposcopy today at either of our two Arlington, Texas, medical clinics by calling or booking online.