The routine once a year OB/GYN checkup is a tradition for most American women. So what does it mean when your doctor tells you, you need a colposcopy? In some cases, it may be nothing other than a cautious health provider covering his/her basis and in other cases, it’s a red flag that something else is going on. Your health provider would most likely order a Colposcopy if your Pap test produces abnormal results or if something seems off during your routine checkup. Why then is a colposcopy the go-to diagnostic procedure? This is because colposcopy is one of the easiest and most effective ways of diagnosing anomalies in the cells of the cervix walls. It may be done with or without a biopsy, depending on your health provider’s recommendation and health issue under investigation.
What is a colposcopy?
A colposcope is a larger version of a magnetic microscope and it’s used to view the cells on the cervical walls of a patient. This process is what is referred to as colposcopy. During the procedure, the device never touches the patient and the patient remains in the same position assumed when a Pap smear is conducted. A solution may be applied to the patient’s cervical walls to enable better visuals of affected areas. With the colposcope, the doctor can view cells that the normal human eyes are incapable of seeing and accurately takes samples of those cells if a biopsy was also requested. This is why a colposcopy (with or without a biopsy) is ordered in most exploratory procedures and diagnosis.
Possible reasons for a colposcopy
If you have already had your yearly checkup and are wondering if you need might need a colposcopy, here are some signs that you might need further investigation to find out what is going on:
Caseation of Menstrual Cycle: If you are not pregnant nor experiencing menopause and your menstrual cycle suddenly stops, this is a serious cause for concern and should be immediately investigated.
Pain/Bleeding: If you are experiencing bleeding and pain unrelated to your menstrual cycle.
Genital Warts on the Cervix: A colposcopy would be needed to diagnose/ensure that the warts are completely cleared during treatment.
HPV: If you suspect you may have contracted HPV, a colposcopy would likely be one of the tests ordered by your health provider to ascertain whether you are correct.
Regardless of what symptoms you may be experiencing, you should always a contact your health provider to be safe because any conditions can be treated if caught early. For more info visit our website.
What you should do before and after the procedure
If you are thinking or already have an appointment scheduled, here are some things you should know for the before and after care:
- Nothing should be inserted into the vaginal 48hrs before the procedure, this includes tampons, creams, etc. Sexual intercourse should also be avoided.
- If your period starts before the procedure, you should call to reschedule as your health provider needs a clear view of your cervical walls for the test to be effective.
- After the procedure, you should also avoid inserting objects into your vaginal for 5-7 days. Sexual intercourse should also be avoided especially if a biopsy was also conducted to reduce the risk of infection.
- Sanitary pads would be needed for a few days if you are experiencing brownish discharge.
If you are uncertain of whether you need a colposcopy or are experiencing cervical pains or discharge, you can schedule an appointment today to speak with one of our medical specialists at 67TH STREET OB/GYN – TOTAL WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE. Our health providers specialize in the female healthcare from the beginning puberty stages until well after menopause.