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Colposcopy - Know More About It!

Reviewed by
MBBS, MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, Certification in IVF & Infertility, Fellowship in Advanced Laparoscopy
Gynaecologist, Mohali  •  23 years experience
Colposcopy - Know More About It!

The physical constitution of a woman’s body is complex and must be subject to regular medical check-ups. The reproductive system in women is especially sensitive to many factors. Colposcopy is a surgical procedure that entails an examination of the vulva, vagina, and cervix by using a tool known as the colposcope. This process is performed if unusual results are detected in Pap smear test.

The Pap smear is a medical screening test that helps identify abnormal cervical cells. The doctor uses the bright light that emanates from the colposcope to see the cervix more clearly under optical magnification. In case irregular areas are spotted during the Pap smear test, a tissue sample is retrieved from the cervix and then sent for biopsy.

What is the purpose of colposcopy?
Colposcopy is performed if a woman starts bleeding profusely right after engaging in sexual intercourse. The medical procedure enables doctors to identify abnormal growth in the reproductive system of a woman; such growth may be visible in the vulva, vagina, or in the woman’s cervix.

Cervical cancer can be identified with the help of a surgical procedure like colposcopy. The procedure can be used to locate ailments in the uterine cervix. These abnormalities may include genital warts or excessive inflammation of the cervix. The latter is known as cervicitis.

How is Colposcopy Performed?
The first step of the colposcopy procedure requires the patient to lie down with the feet placed in stirrups, similar to how a patient would have to lie down when undergoing any Pap smear test or a pelvic exam. A speculum is placed on the patient’s vagina, and the colposcope shall be positioned some inches away from the vulva. The insertion of the speculum can generate some discomfort, but the pain does not last long.

The vagina and the cervix are swabbed with vinegar and cotton to clear any mucus and to highlight any abnormal cells. The colposcope does not physically touch the person. The doctor may proceed to take photographs of areas that might appear suspicious to him. He may also extract a tissue sample from the cervix and send this to a laboratory for biopsy.

The doctor applies a solution to the patient after the biopsy has been executed. This action helps to control the bleeding that may occur after the colposcopy. The solution is known as Monsel’s Solution, and it generates a dark discharge following the procedure. The discharge may occur for a few days.

Colposcopy is an effective procedure that identifies abnormal growth in cervical cells. While there are no risks associated with this procedure as such, it is common for patients to experience bleeding and even fever for a few days after the surgery.

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