The colposcopy is a medical test that allows to visualize the cervix , the surface of the neck of the uterus; It is the lowest area of the uterus, which connects this organ with the vagina. An instrument called a colposcope is used to perform this test.
A very frequent examination in women since it allows to identify in its earliest stage certain precursor abnormalities of a malignant tumor . In addition, thanks to colposcopy, the doctor can extract tissue samples to later analyze them in the laboratory.
What is it done for?
Generally, colposcopy is the second test that is ordered in the detection of cervical cancer; It is performed when the cervical cytology , also known as a Pap test, has detected a series of abnormal cells that could be precursors of a malignant tumor, or even cancerous. In these cases, a colposcopy is requested to confirm the diagnosis.
The gynecologist may also order this test if he has any suspicions after a check-up that there may be inflammation or polyps in the cervix (see: female reproductive system ). Colposcopy is also a common test in women who have ever had the human papillomavirus.
Preparation and performance of the test
Now we are going to explain step by step what colposcopy consists of.
Before the test
Colposcopy does not require any type of prior preparation; It is not necessary to take any type of medicine to perform it, nor is it necessary to go on an empty stomach. The test is performed on an outpatient basis and lasts approximately 15 minutes ; If the doctor detects any abnormality, such as polyps in the cervix that need to be removed, the exam can be lengthened.
During the exam
As we have pointed out, this medical test is performed using an instrument known as a colposcope; Thanks to it, the doctor can see the cervix in a clear and enlarged way.
To carry out the test, the woman must lie on her back on a stretcher with both legs apart. Next, the doctor proceeds to place a speculum to separate the vaginal walls. Then, apply a series of liquids to highlight areas where there may be abnormal cells.
If you consider it convenient, you can take samples for later analysis in the laboratory ; Sometimes you can even perform the treatment during the colposcopy, removing a certain lesion present in the area.
Complications from colposcopy are not at all common. The only possible risk from this medical test is an infection in the cervix, but it is rare.
After the test
Once the exam is finished, you can lead a completely normal life immediately afterwards. If an injury has been treated during the colposcopy, it is advisable to avoid sexual intercourse for a week, as well as lifting weights or doing high intensity sports.
Contraindications, pregnancy and lactation
It is not advisable to perform this medical test during menstruation since the presence of blood may somehow interfere with the examination, preventing a clear view of the cervix. In addition, you cannot have sexual intercourse during the 24 hours prior to the test, as well as douching.
Colposcopy is not contraindicated in pregnant or lactating women; The test can be performed without any risk to the mother and the baby.
One of the most common questions among women who must have a colposcopy is whether the test is painful. Well, the truth is that no; the only discomfort may be caused by the introduction of the speculum , but it is a slight discomfort that has nothing to do with pain.
Yes, it is common to feel a slight stinging when the doctor applies certain products to the cervix to highlight those areas where there may be an injury. Also, if the doctor takes a sample during the test, a very slight pinch may be felt.
After the colposcopy is done, the results about it are usually available in two to three weeks. These are classified into a number of categories.
- Normal Findings: No lesions or abnormalities were located during the examination. The cervix is in perfect condition and there is no suspicion of cancer.
- Abnormal findings: the results specify the area in which these findings have been detected, as well as what it is about: lesions, abnormal vessels …
- Various findings: these types of results are related to an inflammation, an ulcer or any other pathology that affects the cervix but has nothing to do with cancer.
- Suspicion of cancer: Colposcopy has determined that there is a suspicious malignant tumor lesion.
The doctor is in charge of providing the test results. In addition, it is he who should prescribe the treatment if it is necessary, as well as if it is necessary to carry out an additional examination.
One of the main purposes of coloposcopy is the diagnosis of a tumor on the cervix . It is a type of tumor that in the vast majority of cases can take several years to manifest; therefore, its diagnosis usually occurs in advanced stages of the disease.
It is the human papilloma virus, one of the most frequent sexually transmitted diseases in the world, the cause of this type of malignant tumor. There are more than 100 different types of HPV ; the vast majority of them are not harmful and disappear without a trace. However, some of them can remain in the body for years and sometimes cause cervical cancer.
The most common symptoms of a malignant tumor in the cervix are three. On the one hand, an abnormal vaginal bleeding , which usually occurs between periods. On the other hand, an unusual vaginal discharge , which may contain some blood. And finally, severe pain during sexual intercourse.
When a woman has any of these symptoms, the doctor may order a Pap test . If this test detects a series of abnormal cells, then a colposcopy is done.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.