Routine pelvic exams are an opportunity for your gynecologist to visually assess your vagina and parts of your cervix for signs of tissue abnormalities. If your practitioner feels that a closer look is necessary, colposcopy may be the next step.
This diagnostic tool provides a magnified view of the cervix, vagina, and vulva. The device is fully external and uses a combination of a special light and magnification to check your reproductive tissues more closely.
Colposcopy is a versatile diagnostic tool that can play a part in screening for many different conditions. Some of the women’s health issues that can be diagnosed using this technology include:
Because colposcopy is a noninvasive technique and requires little in the way of preparation or recovery time, it’s a preferred diagnostic tool for many gynecologic conditions.
You must schedule your exam on a day when you aren’t having your period, and you should avoid using tampons for a couple of days before your appointment. You should also refrain from sexual activity two days before your visit, and stop taking any vaginal medications.
Many aspects of colposcopy are similar to what you’d expect during a routine pelvic exam. You’ll recline on the exam table or chair and place your feet into supports. Your gynecologist uses a speculum to gently open the walls of your vagina to increase the area of tissue that can be viewed.
The colposcopy device is positioned a few inches away from your body, with your practitioner seated directly behind it. The portion facing your doctor has eyepieces that look a bit like binoculars. A light is directed toward your body, and your practitioner checks your tissues for signs of cellular changes.
You may need to have a small tissue sample taken during your colposcopy, a procedure called a biopsy. That tissue is checked under a microscope for abnormal changes, which is yet another diagnostic tool that can guide your care.
If you learn you need a colposcopy, there is nothing to fear. Try to relax in advance of your visit, and know that you’ll be in the best of hands no matter what the exam detects. Call or visit the website to set up a visit online.