How do I prepare for my Colposcopy Exam?

Schedule your appointment when you are not having your period. For at least 24 hours before the test, you should not: use tampons, have sex or use vaginal medications.

What to expect?

During a colposcopy, a special microscope, called a colposcope, magnifies the appearance of the vagina, vulva or cervix so the area can be properly examined. The exam begins with a routine pelvic exam, a speculum is placed inside the vagina and the colposcope is placed outside the vagina. A mild vinegar solution is applied to the cervix, which can cause a slight burning or stinging sensation. Your doctor will then look at the cervix through the colposcope, evaluating for abnormal areas. A biopsy (a tiny piece of your cervix, vagina or vulva) may be performed, which usually causes a pinching or cramping sensation.

How do I get my results?

Your doctor will contact you and results will be available in the patient portal. Pap smears may take 7-10 days. Results from biopsies will be in 2-5 days. Your doctor will discuss the need for further testing or treatment and followup.

What should I expect after my appointment?

Most women who have a colposcopy feel fine right away, but some may have spotting or brown discharge for a few hours or days. If you did not have a biopsy, you can do the things you normally do, including exercise, sex and use tampons or vaginal medications. If you had a biopsy during your colposcopy, you should avoid sex, tampons and vaginal medications for two days, unless directed by your doctor. You may have some mild cramping, soreness, light vaginal bleeding or black or brown discharge. You may wear a sanitary pad until the bleeding and discharge stops.

When should I call the doctor?

Call your doctor right away if you have heavy bleeding (using more than one pad an hour), severe abdominal pain or cramping, fevers or chills.

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