When you receive abnormal results from a Pap smear, chances are good that there’s no need for concern, but a closer look via a colposcopy procedure is essential. The team of leading physicians at Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association, PC, are highly-experienced in colposcopy. The procedure is available at our locations in Memphis, Germantown, and Bartlett, Tennessee, as well as Southaven, Mississippi. Call the office today or request an appointment online.
Abnormal Pap test results may indicate problems with your cervix, vagina, or vulva, but these test results aren’t conclusive, serving only as a distant early warning for problems such as cervical cancer. Colposcopy is a detailed examination using an instrument called a colposcope. This instrument permits your MOGA gynecologist to inspect the cervix and vagina closely. If there’s a hint of unusual cells, a biopsy may be taken for laboratory testing.
As well as checking for precancerous changes to the tissue of your cervix, vagina, or vulva, a colposcopy can aid the diagnosis of genital warts or inflammation of the cervix. Colposcopy is also used to confirm a diagnosis when you test positive for the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
While the colposcopy procedure is safe, there are a few complications that may arise in extremely rare cases. Some women feel anxious about the procedure, particularly if they’ve never had one before. Your MOGA physician will educate you on any warning signs to watch for after your procedure.
There are a few preparation steps before receiving a colposcopy. First, schedule your appointment away from times that you expect menstrual flow. Abstain from intercourse for a few days before the procedure, and don’t use tampons or vaginal medications during this same time. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers before your appointment to minimize discomfort.
The colposcopy usually takes 20 minutes or less, and you’ll be positioned on your back, the same as for a Pap smear or other pelvic exam. A speculum is used to hold back the vaginal walls for the colposcope, which is a magnifying instrument to aid visual inspection. The colposcope itself isn’t inserted into your vagina.
You may receive a solution with vinegar or other substances to highlight the presence of abnormal cells. If a biopsy is necessary, it will be done at this time. Cervical biopsies may produce minor discomfort but aren’t usually painful. Vaginal biopsies typically are preceded with a local anesthetic.