What Is a Colposcopy?

Nov 02, 2023
What Is a Colposcopy?
Colposcopy is an in-office exam used to diagnose the cause of specific symptoms or conditions, including abnormal Pap smear results. If you need a colposcopy, here’s what to expect during your appointment.

When most of us think of in-office gynecology exams, the first thing that comes to mind is the routine pelvic exam. While pelvic exams are certainly an important part of women’s health, there’s another exam that’s just as important: an exam called a colposcopy.

Colposcopy exams are also performed right in the office, and each exam takes only about 15 minutes or less. These exams play a critical role in diagnosing many health concerns, including cervical cancer.

At OB/GYN Associates of Conroe in Conroe, Texas, Richard Roberts, MD, recommends colposcopy exams for many women who have abnormal Pap smear results or other issues. Here, learn when Dr. Roberts recommends colposcopy and what happens during an exam.

The important role of colposcopy

Colposcopy is a simple, in-office exam that’s performed in much the same way as a routine pelvic exam, but with a different type of instrument called a colposcope. This scope includes a magnifying lens and a bright light to make it easier for Dr. Roberts to evaluate your vulva, your vaginal canal, and your cervix.

Colposcopy is a very effective way to check for potential problems without any type of invasive procedure. As a result, it can play a very important role in helping women maintain optimal health and wellness at every stage of life.

One of the main reasons to have a colposcopy is to help determine the cause of abnormal Pap smear results. But colposcopy is recommended at other times, too. 

Dr. Roberts may also recommend a colposcopy to:

  • Determine the cause of vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause
  • Examine your cervix if you have an STD
  • Look for suspected warts, cysts, or other lesions
  • Monitor abnormalities in your cervix or vaginal wall
  • Find the cause of vaginal or pelvic pain

In some instances, Dr. Roberts may recommend a colposcopy in combination with other examinations or tests, like ultrasound exams.

What to expect during a colposcopy

During your exam, you lie back on the exam table and Dr. Roberts inserts a lubricated speculum into your vagina, just like a regular pelvic exam. Once the speculum is in place, he positions the colposcope at the opening of your vagina and uses the scope to gain a magnified view of your vaginal canal and cervix. The scope does not go inside your vagina.

The special lens and light allow Dr. Roberts to identify areas of abnormal tissue that could indicate the presence of cancer cells or issues like infections. If Dr. Roberts notices an area of abnormal tissue, he may decide to remove a small sample for further evaluation in a lab. A special solution may be used to highlight abnormal areas of tissue so they can be spotted more easily.

There’s no downtime after a colposcopy. You might have a little pinching if Dr. Roberts takes a biopsy (tissue sample), and you may have some mild spotting or light bleeding very briefly afterward. If Dr. Roberts collects a tissue sample, you receive the results of your lab analysis within the next 1-2 weeks.

Make your health a priority

With today’s busy schedules, many women tend to put their own health and wellness needs on the back burner. But with simple, in-office exams like regular pelvic exams and colposcopies, prioritizing your health needs is a lot simpler and faster than you may think.

To learn more about colposcopy or to schedule a pelvic exam, call 936-756-7788 or book an appointment online with the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe today.