What is a Colposcopy?A colposcopy is done when a provider needs to closely examine the cervix, vagina and vulva of a patient. This procedure uses a tool called a colposcope that is a microscope that gives the doctor a clear view of the patient’s cervix. It looks like a pair of binoculars on a stand.
When a woman has a pap smear test done that returns abnormal results the provider will want to follow-up with a colposcopy. A pap test is done to check the cervix for any abnormal cells. The colposcopy is done as a follow-up to obtain more information about the potentially abnormal cells. A colposcopy may also be done to get more information about problems like, genital warts on the cervix, an inflamed cervix, polyps, other lesions or bleeding.
Similar to a pap test a colposcopy needs to be done when the patient is not having their menstrual cycle. If there is a chance you are pregnant your provider will want to do a test to find out for sure. A colposcopy can be done on a pregnant woman if necessary, however, it is information that they will want to know in advance.
The procedure is an outpatient procedure that can be done in the Northwestern Women’s Health Associates office.
Preparing for a Colposcopy:When preparing to have a colposcopy your provider will ask you to avoid the following things for 24 hours before your appointment:
- Vaginal medications
- It would be wise to take Motrin or Advil beforehand.
How is a Colposcopy Done?When a patient comes in for a colposcopy the procedure is similar in some ways to a standard pap test. A colposcopy will utilize a speculum which is a tool also used in a pap test. Once the speculum is in place a solution will be applied to the cervix and vagina that aids in visibility and turns abnormal cells white. The colposcope is placed just outside the opening of the vagina. Biopsies are then taken of the abnormal cells, silver nitrate or monsel's solution is then used to stop the bleeding.
This is a brief procedure that is done right in your doctor’s office.
Recovering From a Colposcopy:According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, most patients who have a colposcopy can return to normal activity immediately following the procedure. As with a pap test there is a chance for light bleeding over the next few days for up to a week.
If you have had a biopsy done during your colposcopy you will need to avoid sex, tampons and douching for a week after the procedure is complete. Your doctor will advise you on all of these details at the time of the colposcopy.
With any procedure there are warning signs that you want to be aware of. After a colposcopy you should alert your doctor if you have any foul smelling discharge, heavy bleeding, fever or increasing abdominal pain.
If you have had an abnormal pap test or have been told you need a colposcopy contact the team at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates to set up an appointment to discuss your health options and determine the best treatment for you.
At Northwestern Women's Health Associates
your unique needs are our highest priority.Making use of advanced technology and staying on the cutting edge of women’s healthcare, our team of experts is dedicated to providing every woman who visits our office with the highest level of sensitive, specialized care. At our office in Chicago, you can receive exceptional obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) services from any one of our highly skilled doctors, including Stanley Friedell, MD; Marc Feldstein, MD; Abbie Roth, MD; Lisa Brunengraber, MD; Regina Belmonte, MD; Sharon Wise, MD; Julianne Morton, MD; and Whitney Dunn, MD. With their combined expertise, this team of board-certified doctors at Northwestern Women's Health Associates makes it possible for you to receive efficient, personalized care from the preeminent women’s hospital in the Midwest.
"Wonderful experience with Dr. Julianne Morton @ NW Women's Associates. I've recommended her to countless girlfriends. Being a first time mom, I went through many physical symptoms and emotions that accompany pregnancy. She is extremely thorough, patient, and has wonderful bedside manner. I felt confident going into delivery with Dr. Morton taking the lead with my delivery. Wonderful practice!"
"Dr. Morton is absolutely amazing. She cared for me throughout my first pregnancy and we found her to be kind and caring and straightforward - could not have asked for a better experience! Dr. Dunn ended up being on call during my delivery and she was great as well. I have always found the nurses and office staff to be friendly and on top of things - very happy with the practice!"
"I had to have a laproscopic hysterectomy done by Dr. Friedell and all went fabulously! They were very detailed in pre-op which made a lot of difference. I came out of surgery feeling great and post op I was back to work within two weeks. Everyone at the practice, at the hospital, at pre-op were incredible."
"Dr.Julianne Morton is amazing! I was recommended by a friend when I moved to the Chicago area and was looking for an OB-GYN. I have seen her for two years in Chicago for my yearly exam. She is beyond kind and great at what she does. Dr.Morton makes you feel very comfortable and is such an incredible doctor! I have recommended her to all of my friends as well who need a new gyno/OB-GYN."