Colposcopy

Smiling senior couple jogging in the park

Overview

What is a Colposcopy?

If your Pap test or pelvic exam uncovers abnormalities, your St. John’s Physician Partners gynecologist may recommend a colposcopy.  This procedure can help your doctor diagnose a variety of conditions such as pre-cancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix, vagina and vulva as well as genital warts. The results will determine if further testing or treatment is needed. 

Risks

Colposcopy Potential Risks and Complications

Colposcopy is a safe procedure with very few risks.  Although rare complications from a biopsy taken during a colposcopy may include: 

  • Heavy bleeding. 
  • Infection. 
  • Pelvic Pain. 

If you have any of these complications, contact your gynecologist immediately. 

OBGYN speaking with her patient about colposcopy

What to Expect

What to Expect During a Colposcopy

Colposcopy is a safe procedure usually done in your gynecologist’s office and takes 10 to 20 minutes.  Here’s what to expect: 

  • You lie on your back with your feet in the stirrups, just like a regular pelvic exam or Pap test.   
  • The doctor then inserts a speculum in your vagina and positions a special magnifying instrument called colposcope and shines a bright light in your vagina. 
  • Your cervix and vagina are swabbed with cotton to clear away any mucus and the doctor may apply a solution to the area to help highlight any areas of suspicious cells. The solution may cause a tingling sensation. 
  • If suspicious cells are discovered, a small sample of tissue may be collected for laboratory testing. 
  • Depending on the type of tissue removed such as a cervical biopsy, you may feel mild discomfort, pressure or cramping. 
  • A biopsy of the lower portion of the vagina or vulva can cause pain so you may be administered a local anesthetic  

If your doctor didn’t take a biopsy during the procedure, you can go back to your normal activity once the exam is finished.  You may experience some spotting or very light bleeding in the next day or two.  You should avoid tampons, douching or vaginal intercourse for a week if a biopsy was performed. You should contact your doctor after colposcopy if you have signs of heavy bleeding, chills, pelvic pain, fever and severe abdominal pain. 

Patient sitting with her doctor

Specialists

Colposcopy Specialists

1301 20th St., Suite 270, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 680W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 270, Santa Monica, CA 90404

12555 West Jefferson Blvd., Suite 303, Los Angeles, CA 90066

1301 20th St., Suite 270, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 270, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 270, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

12555 West Jefferson Blvd., Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA 90066

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404

2001 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 970W, Santa Monica, CA 90404