A colposcopy looks closely at the tissue of the cervix, vulva, and vagina to scan for visible signs of irregular cells. If any are noted, a biopsy of tissue is taken for testing. While it’s a common procedure, it can be stressful for the patient, due to the sensitive location of the procedure, as well as the unknowns about a potential health problem. While abnormal pap smears suggest cancer or precancerous conditions, that’s not all that a positive result can mean, so the colposcopy is simply the next diagnostic step, and not in itself a suggestion of active cancer. Cancer of the cervix takes years to develop and has easily detectable traits that start early.
Complications from a colposcopy are rare. The greatest risk of complication comes if a biopsy is taken, which happens only if suspicious tissue is apparent. Complications could include heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and infection. Seek immediate medical attention, from Gemini OBGYN or an urgent care facility, if you experience any of these symptoms:
For some women, the stress and anxiety prior to a colposcopy is the hardest part of preparation. Usually, the greater the patient’s anxiety, the more pain they experience during the procedure. Knowing what to expect may help reduce anxiety. Ask your Gemini OBGYN caregivers to explain what the procedure entails and what sensations you’ll feel as it’s performed. Write down your questions and concerns before to make sure you ask about everything that’s on your mind.
Preparing for the procedure itself is easy. Typically, you’ll be asked to: