What is a colposcopy? The term ‘colposcopy’ is used to indicate a medical procedure which is used to report on any anomalous Pap smear results, or any irregularities which are observed in any routine gynecological appointment. In a colposcopy, the aim lies in identifying regions of unusualness in the vagina, around the cervical region to take samples of the tissue for biopsy, if required.
Colposcopy can even be used to determine the causes of any irregular observation which are made in a pelvic examination or for confirming the effectiveness of a process or treatment.
If a woman chooses a treatment for colposcopy, process is like a normal gynecological appointment. Usually, the process of ‘what is a colposcopy?’ is performed by a regular practitioner.
The patient is required to undress from her waist on the gynecological table. The practitioner puts in a speculum for dilating the vagina which makes it convenient to look at the reproductive structures within.
The area is then swabbed with a solution containing mild vinegar which leads the abnormal regions to be turned white. The practitioner does not perform the examination using her naked eye. It is done with a colposcope which is a microscope that can magnify regions to around 400 times.
Details of what is a Colposcopy
The area which is being examined is illuminated with bright light, with the practitioner manipulating the colposcope looking for areas that indicate abnormal development of tissues or blood vessels. In case of any abnormality, a biopsy is obtained for further analysis. Colposcopies may be used in the identification of infections and conditions like physical abnormalities.
At times, a colposcopy is recommended to ensure the existence of concerning issues in women prone to risks, such as women with HPV or a repeat abnormal Pap smear. The process is usually comfortable.
Women who are not acquainted with ‘what is a colposcopy’ may prefer anti-anxiety medication or a muscle relaxant before undergoing a colposcopy. This is because they might feel uncomfortable sitting in a particular position for an extended period of time.
In case there is a biopsy taken, they may experience a sharp pinching sensation, which is accompanied with bleeding.
Usually, colposcopies are free of complications. Some may experience spotting or light bleeding and physicians recommend abstinence from using tampons, sexual activity or vaginal administration of medication for up to a week following the process. Results of the test take time to appear.
Women are required to undergo colposcopy for further investigation of any cytological abnormality on the Pap smears. Some of the other indications are:
- Assessing DES or diethylstilbestrol exposure in utero
- A patient of organ transplant or an HIV infection undergoing immuno suppression
- Abnormal emergence of the cervical region as the primary care provider notes
- As a component of a forensic examination for sexual assault
You should understand ‘what is a colposcopy’ so that you can be prepared for the test in case you need it in the future. All coloposcopies do not signify cancer; some are required to examine vaginal infections too.