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A colposcopy is a procedure where a colposcopist /gynaecologist examines your cervix with a magnifying system to help identify any abnormalities. This procedure differs from a cervical screening test. It may be indicated if you have an abnormal cervical screening test result, unexplained vaginal bleeding (particularly after sex- also called post-coital bleeding), abnormal vaginal discharge, or have a higher-than-normal risk of developing pre-cancers or cancers of the cervix or vagina (eg: DES in utero, immunosuppression).

What to expect during a colposcopy

  • Having a colposcopy will take between 10-15 minutes.
  • A colposcopy is usually scheduled for a time when you are not having your period.
  • During the procedure, a small sample of tissue (a biopsy) may be taken from any abnormal looking areas in your cervix.

The Colposcopy Procedure

  • A speculum is gently inserted into the vagina and your cervix is assessed with a colposcope.
  • A solution (dilute acetic acid ) is applied to the cervix.
  • This makes areas where there are changes in the cells turn white helping the doctor to identify abnormalities.
  • Dr Desai and Dr Carswell have state of the art equipment, which allows for a high- resolution photo of your cervix to be taken. This can be stored on your electronic history.
  • Having identified any abnormalities, a tiny biopsy from an area of abnormality may be collected.
  • After a biopsy, a solution called “Monsels” is applied to the cervix to stop bleeding
  • There may be some mild crampy discomfort afterwards, which is quickly resolved with pain relief.
  • The tissue collected is sent to a laboratory for testing to confirm the diagnosis.

 After the Procedure

  • You may have some ‘spotting’ for a few hours – pads/panty liners will be provided .
  • You should avoid rigorous physical exercise for 24 hours.
  • To reduce your risk of bleeding or infection you should avoid sexual intercourse, swimming or baths (including a spa) and using tampons for two days.