About Your Colposcopy

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

A colposcopy is a procedure that examines 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 your colposcopy, 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 procedure usually takes about 20 minutes. 

Before Your Procedure

Schedule your procedure for 1 week after your period. 

The day before your procedure, do not:

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

  • 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.
  • Your doctor will apply a mild vinegar solution to your cervix. 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.
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After Your Procedure

If you had a biopsy:

  • You may have a bloody or brownish-black vaginal discharge for a few days. Use sanitary pads for vaginal discharge.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®) for any discomfort.
  • For 1 week after your procedure, or as instructed by your doctor, do not:
    • Have vaginal intercourse.
    • Put anything in your vagina, including douches and tampons.
    • Use any vaginal creams or medications.
  • Call your doctor’s office 1 to 2 weeks after your procedure for your biopsy results.
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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher.
  • Vaginal discharge lasting more than a few days.
  • Vaginal bleeding that is heavier than your menstrual flow.
  • Pain that does not get better with over the counter pain medication. 
  • Any unexpected problems.
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If you have any questions or concerns, talk with a member of your healthcare team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at ____________________. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call____________________. If there’s no number listed, or you’re not sure, call 212-639-2000.
About Your Colposcopy
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on August 2, 2015