This information describes what to expect during and after your colposcopy.

A colposcopy is an exam of your cervix, which is located at the end of your uterus (womb). It is done with a tool called a colposcope, which magnifies the cervix. This allows your doctor to see abnormalities on your cervix.

During the exam, your doctor may remove a small sample of tissue (biopsy) from your cervix or scrape the lining of the canal that goes from your cervix to your uterus.

The exam usually takes about 20 minutes.

Preparing for Your Exam

The day before your exam, do not:

  • Have vaginal intercourse
  • Put anything in your vagina, including douches and tampons
  • Use any vaginal creams or medications

Exam

  • You will lie on your back with your feet in stirrups, just like during a routine pelvic exam.
  • Your doctor will put a speculum into your vagina. This is an instrument with smooth, curved blades. The speculum will gently spread apart your vaginal walls so that your doctor can see your cervix.
  • Your doctor will then examine your cervix using the colposcope.
  • A mild vinegar solution will be applied to your cervix during your exam. It clears mucous secretions on your cervix. This will not cause any discomfort.
  • If your doctor does a biopsy, you will feel some discomfort as the tissue is removed.
  • If your doctor does a scraping, you will feel mild cramping.

After Your Exam

If you had a biopsy: