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Colposcopy is a type of medical exam for women. In particular, colposcopy is useful for closely examining your cervix. A specialist doctor or nurse will perform the colposcopy procedure to see the insides of your cervix and vagina.

A colposcopy may be required if you have potential complications or abnormal cells during a pelvic exam or pap smear. 

A device with a magnifying lens and light, called a colposcope, is used in colposcopy. This device is able to enlarge the image larger than original in 2x, 4x or more times

Purposes of Colposcopy

Through the colposcope, your doctor will be able to see certain changes in cervical and vaginal tissue. This includes abnormal blood vessels, tissue structure, color, and patterns. The abnormal cells may not have cancerous properties, but it is still a sign of early-onset cancer, or “pre-cancer”.

If your doctor finds any abnormal tissue during a colposcopy procedure, a small sample of tissue may be taken for further examination. Your doctor may also take tissue samples from inside the cervix. The small sample of tissue will then be examined in the laboratory. This procedure is called a cervical biopsy.

There are various reasons why a patient may require colposcopy: 

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Polyps (non-cancerous growths).
  • Genital warts, which may indicate infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), a factor that could lead to the development of cervical cancer.
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy. DES exposure may increase the risk of reproductive system cancer.

Cost Estimation for Colposcopy 

The cost for a colposcopy procedure depends on the hospital or clinic that provides the procedure. Each hospital and clinic usually offers a variety of service packages based on your diagnostic needs as well as your financial capacity.

For more details regarding the cost estimation for colposcopy, contact Smarter Health 


There are numerous steps involved in the colposcopy procedure that you should know about, such as: 

  • You need to make an appointment with your doctor to perform the colposcopy procedure. You may also consult your doctor about this procedure.
  • You may be asked to sign a consent form to perform the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear enough, 
  • In general, no special preparation is required —  such as fasting or sedation. If you are going to have a biopsy under anesthesia, you may need to fast for several hours before the procedure — usually after midnight.
  • You need to inform if you are pregnant or if there are symptoms of pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any allergies to medications, latex, patches, iodine, and anesthetics.
  • Inform your doctor about any medicines you are taking — both general drugs or prescription drugs, medical or herbal.
  • Your doctor needs to know your medical history such as if you have a history of bleeding disorders or you are taking blood thinners (anticoagulants), aspirin, or other blood clotting medications. You may be asked to stop consuming the medicines before the procedure.
  • You should not wear tampons, vaginal creams, douches (inserting water into the genitals) and having sex for 24 hours before the test.
  • Your doctor may recommend pain medication 30 minutes before the procedure, or sedation before the anesthesia is given. If you are using a sedative, then you will need someone to drive you home after the colposcopy procedure.

During Colposcopy 

Colposcopy usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. This process usually does not require anesthesia. Here’s how a colposcopy is performed:

  1. You will be positioned on your back on an examination table with your legs wide apart
  2. Your doctor will place the colposcope a few inches from the vulva and place the speculum into your vagina. The speculum holds the vaginal wall open so that your doctor can see your cervix.
  3. Your cervix and vagina will be wiped with cotton wool and a solution such as vinegar to clear mucus and check for abnormal cells.
  4. There will be no contact between the colposcope and your organs. Your doctor may take images and do a biopsy of any area that looks suspicious.
  5. After the biopsy, your doctor may use a special, often used fluid that helps control bleeding. This fluid is called Monsel fluid. The effect of using Monsel fluid is dark spots that look like coffee grounds. This will take several days.
  6. Some women may feel uncomfortable when the speculum is inserted. You could experience a stinging sensation from using a solution such as vinegar. You must remain calm during the procedure. If the discomfort becomes worse, you must immediately inform your doctor.


You may rest after the colposcopy procedure for a few minutes before going home. If you have a colposcopy through biopsy, the recovery process may vary. This will depend on the type of biopsy performed and the type of anesthesia (if using anesthetic).

If anesthesia is used, you will be taken to a recovery room for observation. After the blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stabilized and you have gained your consciousness, you will remain under control in the hospital. You may be allowed to go home when you feel better.

You may need to wear a bandage to relieve bleeding. If you also have a biopsy, it is normal if you experience side effects such as light cramping, spotting, and dark or black discharge

The black discharge may come from medicines used on the cervix to control bleeding. You should avoid douche, tampons, or sex for one week after the biopsy — follow your doctor’s instructions. 

Use pain relievers for cramps or pain as recommended by your doctor. Aspirin or certain other painkillers may increase the chance of bleeding. Make sure to only consume the recommended medication.

You need to limit your routine activities.It is advised that you stay away from any heavy work after the colposcopy procedure for several days.

Understanding Your Test Results

The results of the colposcopy will be discussed after the procedure or several days after. Your doctor will inform you when to return for further consultation or treatment. If there are indications of abnormal cells, your doctor will immediately take the appropriate medical procedure

Side Effects of Colposcopy

The main advantage of the colposcopy procedure is an accurate diagnosis if you have the potential for cancer or tumors in the cervix and vagina. This is necessary for prompt handling and appropriate procedure if such a possibility occurs.

In some cases, although not all patients experience it, a colposcopy procedure may cause side effects, such as:

  • Fever.
  • Bleeding.
  • Vaginal odor 
  • Chronic pelvic pain

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