A colposcopy is an OB/GYN exam performed to get a magnified view of the cervix (the lower end of the uterus), the vagina and vulva to look for abnormal areas of tissue. If needed, a small piece of tissue, known as a biopsy, may be removed and sent to a lab for closer examination.
Colposcopy may be recommended for women who have:
- An abnormal Pap smear, to look for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Genital warts
- Cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix)
- Abnormal bleeding
What to Expect During a Colposcopy
A Colposcopy is performed in the OB/GYN office, similar to a Pap smear.
During the exam, the OB/GYN provider uses a special microscope device, known as a colposcope, to enlarge the normal view of the tissue in the cervix, vagina and vulva and carefully look for any areas of abnormality.
A mild solution may be used to help identify abnormal tissue.
A colposcopy does not require anesthesia. Typically no pain medication is needed. If a biopsy is taken, a numbing agent may be used. Spotting, light bleeding, or mild pain may occur for a day or two following a biopsy.
The OB/GYN specialist will advise on steps to take before and after a colposcopy exam.