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The Complete Guide to Colposcopy

What is colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a way of looking at the cervix through a special magnifying device called a colposcope. It casts light onto the cervix and into the vagina. A colposcope can greatly enlarge the normal view 20-30 folds larger. This exam allows an obstetrician-gynecologist to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. The most important thing to know is that colposcopy is just viewing the cervix (visual inspection), it is not an operation and is absolutely painless.

Why and when is colposcopy done?

Colposcopy is done when:

1)   The results of cervical cancer screening tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Colposcopy provides more information about abnormal cells.

2)   Colposcopy also may be used to further assess other problems, including

  • Genital warts on the cervix
  • Cervicitis (an inflamed cervix)
  • Benign (not cancer) growths, such as polyps
  • Pain

Again, there is a common misunderstanding that colposcopy should be done only if the Pap test is abnormal. Not at all. Sometimes the Pap test is normal but the cervix looked abnormal and suspicious. In such a situation, the doctor SHOULD perform a colposcopy with a biopsy.

How is the procedure performed?

Colposcopy is typically done in the obstetrician-gynecologist office. The doctor positions this special magnifying instrument, called a colposcope, a few inches away from your vaginal opening. This allows them to see any abnormal cells or growths on your cervix or vaginal walls more clearly. The doctor may also take some samples of cells from your cervix during this exam so they can be looked at in a laboratory to find out what type of cells they are.

What does it mean - a biopsy done during colposcopy?

During colposcopy, the ob-gyn doctor may see abnormal areas and a biopsy of these areas may be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed with a special device from the cervix. This procedure is also painless because the lower third of the cervix doesn’t contain pain receptors. It can cause only minor discomfort.

Also, the doctor will inform you that after a biopsy a woman can expect some discharge, spotting, or minor pain in the lower abdomen. That’s it!

Conclusion & Last Words

It is important to emphasize that due to the implementation of the screening program in routine medical practice, the number of cervical cancer cases significantly reduced over the last 20 years. The cervical cancer screening program is a great achievement of humanity in saving women’s lives. And every modern woman who takes care of herself should take advantage of these advances in medicine.

 Click here to know more about cost for colposcopy


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