A colposcopy is a diagnostic tool that allows your gynecologist a chance to examine your cervix, vulva, and vagina more closely than a traditional pelvic exam. One of many services available from the team at Women's Health Services in Arlington, Texas, a colposcopy can provide valuable information that guides your health care. To learn more about this and other diagnostic options, call or try the online booking tool to set up a visit today.
A colposcopy is a simple diagnostic procedure that provides a magnified view of your vagina, vulva, and cervix. It’s often the next step when a Pap smear shows abnormal results or when your doctor suspects abnormal cellular growth on your cervical or vaginal tissues.
The most common reason for a colposcopy is an abnormal Pap smear result. If the lab technicians see cellular abnormalities in your sample, a colposcopy allows a closer inspection of your cervix and surrounding tissues.
A positive human papillomavirus (HPV) test is also a common reason to have a colposcopy. Certain strains of this virus cause cervical cancer, and other strains cause genital warts. A colposcopy is performed to look for tissue irregularities.
The process is similar to a pelvic exam. You’ll recline on the exam table as your doctor gently inserts a speculum into your vagina. This tool separates your vaginal walls to provide a clear view of your cervix and nearby tissues. A special solution made of vinegar is used to highlight any unusual cells.
The colposcope is mounted on a stand and has viewing lenses that look something like binoculars. This device does not enter your body, but remains positioned a few inches away from your vagina. A bright light illuminates the area, enabling a magnified view of your tissues.
If your gynecologist spots an area of concern, a small tissue sample called a biopsy is collected. A colposcopy doesn’t require any form of anesthesia, so you’ll be able to communicate with your doctor throughout the process.
Depending on where a biopsy sample is taken, you may need a local anesthetic. Your doctor will explain the steps as they occur, so there’s no need to feel anxious. Many biopsies don’t require any form of anesthesia and only cause mild discomfort.
If a biopsy is necessary, you may have some light bleeding for a day or so after your procedure. Dark discharge and mild discomfort are also possible, but over-the-counter pain medications can manage discomfort. This biopsy approach is less invasive than other options.
Scheduling a colposcopy is as simple as a phone call or a visit to the online booking tool. If you’ve been advised to have this diagnostic procedure, don’t delay. Cervical cancer and many other gynecologic issues are much easier to treat when caught in the early stages.