What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is an office procedure that allows your doctor to visualize the cervix more closely using a magnifying instrument (colposcope) in order to identify abnormal cervical tissue that cannot be seen with the naked eye.  Areas of the cervix that are concerning for pre-cancer or cancer can then be biopsied (sampled) during the colposcopy.

Why is a colposcopy done?

A colposcopy is performed after an abnormal Pap test.  It is simply a way to take a closer look at the cervix and identify any abnormal cervical cells.

Will a colposcopy hurt?

No.  The colposcopy itself with not hurt.  If biopsies are taken, you will feel a small “pinch” but otherwise should not feel any pain.  The procedure does not require any anesthesia.

How long does a colposcopy take?

A colposcopy only takes approximately 5 minutes.  This includes time for positioning, the speculum insertion, the colposcopy, biopsies (if needed), and removal of the instruments.

What can I expect after a colposcopy?

After a colposcopy alone, you should feel fine.  You should be able to resume all work and household activities.  If biopsies are performed during your colposcopy, you should expect to feel a little vaginal soreness for 2-3 days.  It may be necessary to wear a sanitary pad for those days as you may experience vaginal spotting or a dark discharge.  You will be instructed to abide by pelvic rest for approximately one week.  This includes no douching, no sex, and no tampons.  You should call your doctor if you experience heavy vaginal bleeding, fevers, or worsening abdominal pain.