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Video:Getting a Colposcopy Exam

with Dr. Kate Grossman

Colposcopy Exams are more common than you'd think and more often than not, simply a precaution. Learn what to expect from this follow-up test to a PAP Smear.See Transcript

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Transcript:Getting a Colposcopy Exam

Hi, I'm Dr. Kate Grossman, for About.com Health.

Your doctor says that your PAP Smear was abnormal and that you need a Colposcopy. Now, all that you can think is – you must have Cervical Cancer. You don't know what's going to happen and you are worried.

Who Needs a Colposcopy?

Hundreds of thousands of colposcopies are performed every year in the United States. Most of them are to investigate an abnormal PAP smear. In 98 out of 100 cases, cancer is not found.

Before a Colposcopy Exam

You should avoid putting anything in your vagina the day before the procedure.
This means:
  • No spermicides
  • No sex
  • No yeast medications
  • No douches

Colposcopy Exam

You'll be asked to lie on your back, with your bottom at the edge of the table, your knees bent, and your feet in the stirrups. The doctor uses a special lighted microscope called a colposcope to examine your cervix in detail. The microscope will not enter your body.

The doctor inserts the same type of speculum used in a PAP smear to help better examine the cervix. This may be unpleasant but it shouldn't hurt. The doctor then cleans the cervix by rinsing it with a saline solution. You may feel a cool sensation. The doctor applies a vinegar solution which interacts with cervical cells and aids in the identification of potentially abnormal areas. This may cause some mild stinging.

If a potentially abnormal area is found, your doctor may take a biopsy and you may feel a pinching or cramping sensation as this happens.

After a Colposcopy Exam

You may experience some slight discomfort for a day or two and some bleeding or other vaginal discharge for several days. And you may be asked to avoid vigorous exercise, heavy lifting and placing anything in your vagina for a week.

Colposcopy Results

You should learn the results of your Colposcopy within a week. It is critically important to make a Cervical Cancer diagnosis as early as possible. If potentially abnormal cervical cells or Cervical Cancer is found in colposcopy, you may have just taken the first steps toward saving your life. You may be asked to have additional testing to determine staging, treatment options and prognosis. Just remember that most colposcopy results come back normal and even when results show potentially abnormal cells, they are usually not cancerous. They may go away on their own accord or with simple treatment.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at Health.About.com.

Please click here to learn more about Lutheran Medical Centers in Brooklyn, NY.
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