Obstetricians & Gynecologists located in Atlanta, GA
If the results of your Pap test are abnormal, don’t panic. Your doctor will likely recommend that you schedule a colposcopy within three months of your Pap test to further examine your vulva, vagina, and cervix. While roughly four in 10 women who receive a colposcopy have normal results, it is essential for diagnosing the cause of any abnormalities for the other six. If the results of your last Pap test were abnormal, call or schedule a colposcopy appointment online with Arbor Obstetrics & Gynecology in Atlanta today.
Colposcopy Q & A
What is a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure that you may need if your Pap exam yields abnormal results. During a colposcopy, your doctor at Arbor Obstetrics & Gynecology uses a speculum to open your vagina, much like during a routine cervical exam. She then uses a colposcope (an elongated microscope with an attached light) to closely examine the cells on your cervix.
Your doctor might apply vinegar or a similar solution to your cervix. While it may sting a bit, it helps to highlight any abnormal cervical cells. If she finds abnormal cells, she will extract some via a biopsy to take to a lab for further testing. The entire procedure takes 15-20 minutes.
What conditions can it diagnose?
A colposcopy can diagnose a variety of conditions, including:
- Genital warts
- Precancerous cells in the cervix, vulva, and vagina
- Cervicitis (cervical inflammation)
If your doctor finds any precancerous cells, she will discuss your treatment options to remove them. While some are detected from the colposcopy alone, you might need to wait a few weeks for the results of your biopsy to know for sure whether you’re at risk.
How can I prepare for the procedure?
An upcoming colposcopy can prompt feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, so it’s important to be informed about the procedure beforehand. The team at Arbor Obstetrics & Gynecology is knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions you have about colposcopies. Here are a few steps that you can take to ensure that your colposcopy goes smoothly:
- Bring a mini-pad for any discharge after the procedure
- Don’t come in for a colposcopy during your period
- Don’t have vaginal intercourse for a couple of days before the procedure
- Don’t insert a tampon for several days before the procedure
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever before your appointment
- Take other steps to help yourself relax before the colposcopy
If you’ve taken all of the necessary precautions and are still nervous, talk to your provider about your feelings of anxiety and ask if you can bring some headphones with you to your appointment. Listening to music can calm your nerves and distract you while your doctor performs the procedure.
If you’ve been asked to come back for a colposcopy after an abnormal Pap smear, don’t fret. The team at Arbor Obstetrics & Gynecology is highly experienced and can help you through a smooth and worry-free procedure. If you’re in the Atlanta area, call or schedule your colposcopy online today.