What is a Colposcopy, and why might it be needed?
A colposcopy is a women’s health procedure used to examine the tissues of the cervix, vulva, and vaginal wall. At Northwestern Women’s Health Associates in Chicago, Illinois, we may recommend a colposcopy for a variety of reasons, typically after abnormal results are found on a Pap smear. Read on to learn more about this procedure and what to expect.
What is a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a quick and minimally invasive procedure used to get a closer look at the cervix, vulva, and vagina. This is to identify issues such as precancerous or cancerous lesions, genital warts, and cervical inflammation. Overall, a colposcopy only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and most patients tolerate the procedure with minimal discomfort and no need for anesthesia.
After opening the vagina using a speculum, the cervix will be examined through a colposcope, an electric microscope equipped with a bright light. The colposcope does not actually touch you, but a biopsy may also be performed during the procedure if abnormal areas are identified. If a biopsies are performed, we typically use a solution known as silver nitrate or Monsel’s solution that will help stop any bleeding. If Monsel’s solution is used, you will likely experience a dark discharge that resembles coffee grounds for a few days after the procedure. You may also experience mild cramping after the procedure, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Why a colposcopy might be recommended
A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure that we may recommend if you have:
- An abnormal Pap smear
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as after intercourse
- Abnormal growths that are palpable or visible on the vagina, vulva, or cervix
We recommend that you take motrin and or tylenol before your procedure.
Gentle, compassionate women’s health care
At Northwestern Women’s Health Associates, we know that receiving abnormal Pap smear results or experiencing changes in your vaginal area can cause anxiety and uncertainty. We provide compassionate, gentle care based on your specific needs and will take the time to talk about any questions or concerns you have about your recommended treatments. To schedule your appointment at our Chicago, IL office, call 312-440-9400 today.