Colposcopy is a microscopic examination of the cervix used to diagnose potential abnormalities of the cervix and vagina. It is done in your doctor’s office and does not require any anesthesia. The colposcope magnifies the cervix by up to 30 times, which makes obtaining cervical biopsies more accurate than those done without the use of a colposcope.

Your doctor will recommend a colposcopy following an abnormal Pap Smear test. A colposcopy is considered a diagnostic test and is used to confirm or refute the findings on your Pap smear. You will recline on an examining table and a speculum is inserted into the vagina to expose the cervix just like during your annual exam. A stain is applied to your cervix to help improve the visualization of the abnormal areas. The colposcope is positioned in front of the vaginal opening and the doctor can locate the abnormalities, determine their extent and perform the necessary biopsies. The procedure should take about 10 minutes. The biopsy may cause some cramping or bleeding.

After the procedure you may bathe or shower as usual. Sexual activity is not recommended for at least 1 week. You should notify your doctor if you develop unexplained vaginal bleeding, if vaginal discharge increases or you develop signs of infection.