Colposcopy is an office evaluation that uses a lighted magnifying device called a colposcope to look for abnormal changes in your cervix, vulva or vagina that could indicate a serious medical condition, an infection or other issue. It's commonly performed following an abnormal Pap test result to look for abnormal areas that could be a sign of cancer or other diseases, and it may also be performed to evaluate for the presence of HPV or to monitor or evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment.
Not necessarily; abnormal Pap tests can be caused by many reasons, including yeast infections and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). In fact, most abnormal Pap test results are caused by these and other issues, and not by cervical cancer.
Colposcopy is performed in the exam room. You'll lie on your back on the exam table with your feet in the stirrups, and a speculum will be used to gently widen your vaginal canal. A special solution will be applied to the lining or your vagina and your cervix to make abnormal areas easier to see. The colposcope will be positioned at the entrance to your vaginal canal and used to light up and magnify the inside of your vagina and cervix so they can be closely examined, and a camera may also be used in some cases to take pictures of abnormal areas. If abnormal areas are seen, tiny tissue samples or biopsies can be taken for examination under a microscope. Once the colposcopy is complete, you can resume your regular activities. If biopsies are taken, you may have some mild spotting that will quickly resolve.
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