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Colposcopy

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What is a Colposcopy?

Colposcopy helps the doctors to examine the cervix of the patient in a close way. It detects the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix. The equipment colposcope helps in performing the procedure by providing light and magnification to get a closer look. This procedure includes the swabbing of the cervix with an acetic acid and iodine solution. It helps in the removal of mucus. At this time, the person can feel a sensation of burning or tingling.

Alternatively, doctors take tissue samples, which they use for later examination. It has two different types. In some cases, doctors collect it from the inside and from the outside of the cervix. They perform this process to determine the possibility of cancerous cells. After the biopsy, a person can bleed or feel pain for few days. The total procedure takes around five to ten minutes.

Everything You Need to Know About Colposcopy

Why Do I Need It? | Why is it Done? | When to see | How to prepare | What to Expect

Why do I need a Colposcopy?

Doctors recommend colposcopy to detect abnormal areas of the vagina and cervix if pre-cancer or cancer cells are detected on screening tests. HPV infection of the cervix can cause pre-cancer or cancerous changes which can be detected as abnormality in your Pap smear. The appearance of the cervix gets magnified with the colposcope.

Staining the cells can help the doctors to spot the location and the size of the abnormal cells. These features of the normal and abnormal cells help in determining the place, which is appropriate for biopsy. It helps in understanding the severity and abnormality in the future. You can prevent the development of cervical cancer if you treat it at an early stage.

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Why is a colposcopy performed?

    If the result of the Pap test shows abnormal activity or growth of cells, doctors recommend a colposcopy. They get to see the cervix more closely in this procedure. It helps to find the reason behind the abnormality of cells.

    In addition, it helps in examining the other health concerns. Few other reasons behind colposcopy include detecting causes for infection, pain and inflammation in the cervix. Apart from that, it helps in detecting abnormal bleeding, the presence of polyps and genital warts. Sometimes, doctors also do this to check the result of treatment.

    When to see a doctor

      The procedure of colposcopy has no potential threats but there is a minimal risk of bleeding and infection after the biopsy. You need to inform your doctor if you have an allergy to any the medications such as latex or iodine. You need to visit the doctor if you feel severe pain in the lower abdomen, high fever, heavy bleeding, etc. If you face severe chills and heavy and yellow vaginal discharge, you must consult a doctor too. Alternatively, if you face heavy bleeding, then it is best to visit the doctor as it is a good indicator.

      How to prepare for a colposcopy?

        There are some steps to prepare for colposcopy. One needs to be as relaxed as possible and remember it is not a painful procedure. In this procedure, one needs to lie down on the examination table. For holding the wall of the vagina, the doctor will insert a speculum. Moreover, you can feel slight pressure due to the insertion of the device. After placing the colposcope near the opening of the vagina, the doctor will use a cotton swab and saline solution for swabbing the cervix and vagina. This helps to clear the mucus after which the doctor examines the cervix by a colposcope with a green filter of a colposcope. It makes it easier to see the abnormalities of blood vessels on the cervix. Then the cervix is swabbed with diluted acetic acid and Lugol’s iodine. This helps in better visualisation of abnormal areas of the cervix. Hence, they will perform a biopsy only if they notice any abnormal tissue.

        What you can expect after a colposcopy?

        You can feel soreness in your vagina for few hours after the colposcopy. You can notice dark color fluid or spotting as a vaginal discharge after having a biopsy. If your doctor does not ask you to not use tampons, you can use them. After the biopsy, you need to keep some tips in mind like:

          • Take shower as soon as you want.
          • You cannot indulge in sexual activities for three days after having the biopsy as your cervix need time for healing.
          • Continue taking the prescribed medications, especially the birth control pills for better and quick healing

        Colposcopy is essential to detect any unwanted cell growth or other issues. Therefore, pregnant women can go for this test too. But, the doctor will perform a biopsy after delivery because pregnant women can face more bleeding due to the increased blood supply.

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