Colposcopy Risks, Purpose & Procedure

When it comes to examining the pelvic organs of the female anatomy for signs of diseases or disorders, there is no method that has the same in-depth observation as the Colposcopy.

This is a process that involves closely examining the cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of some disorders. The instrument that is used in this process is colposcope. 

This is the test that is recommended to the patients whose Pap test showed some abnormalities. This is a pretty in-depth observation test that notices any sort of discrepancy on the surface pelvic organs. That being said, the process can be quite invasive and it causes anxiety in several women. However, there is no need to worry about it and the content of this page will tell you why!

What is the purpose of Colposcopy?

The doctors tend to recommend this procedure there are abnormalities that are revealed during the Pap test. This process can assist you with diagnosing the following issues: 

  • Genital warts

  • Precancerous changes in the cervix tissues

  • Cervix inflammation

  • Precancerous changes in the vulva

  • Precancerous changes in vaginal tissues. 

What are the risks involved with this procedure?

While there are only a few risks associated with this procedure and their occurrence is relatively rare, they are the following: 

  • Heavy bleeding

  • Pelvic Pain

  • Infections

However, as said, the chances for this complication to occur are actually low. However, if you encounter any of the below complications, you need to contact your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Heavy bleeding that is experienced during periods.

  • There are also chills to consider

  • Fever can be one of the complications due to infection

  • Abdominal pain of severe nature. 

Preparing the colposcopy

The preparation for colposcopy involves the following: 

  • Make sure that you do not schedule this procedure during your period

  • A day or two before the procedure, you should not have vaginal intercourse

  • As hard as it may sound, you should refrain from using tampons a day or two before the procedure. 

  • No medical medications a day or two before the procedure. 

  • Before you get the procedure, it is perfectly fine for you to get an over the counter pain medication. 

Coping with anxiety

The procedure of colposcopy involves quite an invasive method to actually examine the region. To that end, it is perfectly natural for a woman to feel anxiety. However, if you take heed of the following, you might not be so anxious during the procedure:

  • Get knowledge: Prior to the procedure, it would be a good idea to read each and every pamphlet that the doctor gives you.

  • Ask all the questions that you have without being afraid that the questions might be a bit awkward.

  • Relax and find activities that allow you to relax. To that end, a portable music player can be immensely helpful here. 

During and after the procedure

During the procedure:

  • The procedure is done in the doctor’s office.

  • You would need to lie on your back with your feet on the supports.

  • A speculum will be placed inside your vagina that opens it up and makes it visible for the doctor to examine.

  • A magnifying instrument is going to be placed in front of the region. This instrument is called colposcopy

  • Sort of like a binocular in its design, it will assist the doctors with the examination

  • The suspicious regions are going to be highlighted with the aid of vinegar or some other type of solution.

  • If a suspicious region is found, a sample is taken.

  • This the biopsy part of the procedure. There can be two types of biopsies here:

  • a. Cervical biopsy

  • b. Vaginal biopsy.

After the procedure:

  • After the procedure, you are free to leave the hospital that very moment.

  • There are no restrictions to your activities after the examination.

  • There might be some issues after the procedure like vaginal or vulvar pain, some light bleeding or some dark discharge. You can use tampons to catch the discharges.


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Dr. Madhu Goel

Senior Gynecologist and a Senior Consultant

Dr. Madhu Goel is a well renowned senior gynaecologist and a senior consultant at Fortis La femme, New Delhi. She runs a private consultation in Goel’s surgery and Gynea centre and prior to being associated with Fortis; she was a consultant a Rockland Hospital.