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Why is colposcopy performed?

A colposcopy is performed when the pap smear is abnormal.

A colposcopy can also be requested when the smear is normal. The most common indication is the presence of bleeding after intercourse.
Colposcopy can also be performed as part of cervical follow-up after conization.


What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is an examination performed by a doctor who will look through a microscope at the cervix at the bottom of the vagina.

To do this, he/she will place a speculum and use a special microscope called a colposcope.
He/she will touch the cervix with a cotton pad, which is completely painless.
During colposcopy, he or she will use the colorants he or she will put on the cervix to visualize lesions. He/she will draw these on a colposcopy report, which will allow a follow-up or on a precise diagram if a surgical procedure is to be scheduled.
During this examination, he/she will have to examine a specific area on the cervix called “junction”, otherwise the colposcopy is considered unsatisfactory. It may be necessary to do a second examination with estrogen therapy 10 days before the examination if this was not the case at the time of the first colposcopy.
Some areas identified during colposcopy may need to be sampled. This is called a cervical biopsy.


Should it be done urgently?

Colposcopy is not an urgent examination.
If it is a low-grade Pap smear, a time limit of several weeks should not be of concern.
In the case of a high-grade smear, a time limit of less than one month is reasonable.


Can one perform a colposcopy if menstruating?

It is not possible to do a colposcopy if you have your period.The examination of the cervix must be thorough. It is necessary to be able to look inside the collar. The presence of blood prevents proper vision.
Should you risk having menstrual bleeding during your colposcopy, it is best to postpone your appointment.


Does it hurt?

Colposcopy is not a painful procedure.
 Most of the time, colposcopy is completely painless.
The taking of a sample can generate discomfort that can go as far as tingling. Nevertheless, some women may experience pain, but it is rare.
In some cases, a sample inside the cervix is necessary. This quick action is unpleasant and may even be painful.


Duration of the examination

A Colposcopy examination lasts a little longer than a normal gynecological examination.
The first step in such a consultation is the reading of the smear and its explanation.

The actual examination takes about ten minutes, not counting the time it takes to prepare the colorants.


Is any bleeding to be expected after the procedure?

A colposcopy is a diagnostic test. A cervical biopsy is often performed during colposcopy.
This sampling can generate bleeding.

The latter are not abundant and only represent a few traces of blood. They can last a few days.
Bleeding may occur 5 to 10 days after colposcopy. This is called a pressure sore fall. There is a scab on the biopsy area. During healing, the scab may fall off and new bleeding may be observed.
In order to avoid this bleeding due to scarring, it is not advisable to use tampons because removing them damages the crust. Similarly, it is not advisable to take a bath or bathe in the days following a colposcopy because the water softens this scab. For the same reasons, abstinence of a few days is recommended.


What is a hemostatic tampon?

To reduce bleeding after colposcopy, the doctor may put a so-called “hemostatic” compress on the cervix. It is small in size and completely painless.

It disintegrates spontaneously and there is no need to remove it. This mechanism begins approximately 48 hours after colposcopy. Sometimes it gradually disintegrates and small pieces of this compress can be found in the underwear or when going to the bathroom. It is dark brown because it is soaked in disinfectant. This may last a few days after the colposcopy.


Before taking a colposcopy


What is the indication for an emergency consultation after?

A sample called a biopsy is often taken during a colposcopy. If a heavy bleeding occurs afterwards, i. e. comparable to menstruation, it is necessary to consult. This bleeding can occur immediately after the examination or up to 5 to 10 days later.


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