Is a colposcopy painful? Will it affect my ability to have children?

How is the colposcopy done? 

In doing a colposcopy, the doctor proceeds with the usual pelvic examination. With the speculum (the instrument used to separate the walls of the vagina to expose the cervix) inserted into the vagina, the doctor points the magnifying lens and a powerful light at the opening of the vagina and looks through an eyepiece. The cervix and/or vagina are swabbed with a special solution. The solution, along with a green lens placed on the colposcope, makes the abnormal area appear as whitish spots. Biopsies of these white spots or any abnormal areas are usually taken for examination. The sensation of a biopsy is similar to a mild menstrual cramp. A TV attachment on the side of the colposcope beams a picture to a nearby monitor. If he wishes, the doctor can make videotapes of the cells to study changes over a period of time. No part ofthe instrument is inserted into the vagina.

When is a colposcopy done? 

Sometimes a colposcopy is done when you have had an abnormal Pap smear. With the colposcope the doctor can see if there is an abnormal pattern to the blood vessels in your cervix and whether there is a lesion there. Using the colposcope, the doctor can very often identify the abnormal tissue from which abnormal cells on the Pap smear have been scraped. In many instances such abnormal tissue may then be destroyed or removed painlessly in the office, often avoiding other surgical procedures.

Is a colposcopy painful? Will it affect my ability to have children? 

No, the colposcopy is neither painful nor will it affect your ability to bear children.

Will I have a discharge after I have a colposcopic examination? 

Sometimes. The biopsied area is usually swabbed with a brown solution to prevent bleeding. This solution can cause a slight brownish vaginal discharge for 1 to 2 days. The solution may be irritating to your partner, so the doctor will usually advise you to abstain from intercourse for a day or two.

Is the colposcope used for DES daughters? 

Yes, the colposcope is also used as an examining tool for girls whose mothers took DES during pregnancy.


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