in New York, New York

If you undergo a Pap test with the help of your gynecologist, then they may recommend a colposcopy procedure if your results come back abnormal. This in-office procedure can help your gynecologist get a better idea of what cells might be present on your cervix so they can determine your next best steps. During a colposcopy procedure, we’ll ensure you’re comfortable and informed about this important process.

What is a Colposcopy?

A colposcopy is an in-office procedure performed to take a closer look at the cells of your cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of cancer or precancers. A colposcopy is a more detailed exam than the one you receive during your routine checkup and requires a special instrument called a colposcope, similar to a microscope with a light attached, which is inserted into the vaginal canal. This allows your gynecologist to get a better idea of what your cervix looks like. Sometimes, a small amount of vinegar is sprayed on the cervix to make any abnormal areas stand out. If your gynecologist sees any abnormal areas, they may perform a biopsy where a small tissue sample is taken to be sent to a lab.

Your gynecologist may make the decision to perform a colposcopy based on your Pap smear results. Pap smears are screening tests performed during your annual Well-Woman’s visit. Based on these results, if a Pap smear shows abnormal cells or a presence of high-risk HPV (Human Papillomavirus) your gynecologist will recommend a colposcopy.

What can I expect before and after?

Ideally, colposcopies should not be scheduled or performed during the heaviest days of your period. Colposcopies should also not be performed after intercourse or recent use of tampons. Your gynecologist may suggest you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, prior to going to your colposcopy appointment.

Immediately following your procedure, you will likely have some mild cramping or discomfort. This may last up to 12 days afterward, and your gynecologist may suggest to alleviate it with ibuprofen or Tylenol at home. You may experience some mild spotting or discharge for several days after the procedure.

If a biopsy was performed, your gynecologist may suggest that you hold off on sexual activity or strenuous physical activity for several days after the procedure. You should use sanitary pads for any discharge or spotting but should avoid using tampons.

Why is a Colposcopy Important?

A colposcopy is a way for your gynecologist to verify the results found during your Pap test. Whether your results from a biopsy are positive or negative, this can allow your gynecologist to create a plan and ensure you know your next steps. For example, your gynecologist may recommend you undergo Pap tests more often than the usual schedule and take certain steps to prevent abnormal growth. Overall, it’s an important step in determining whether your Pap test results are concerning or not through further, more specific testing.

How Can My Gynecologist Help?

An abnormal result from your Pap test can cause anxiety and you’ll likely have a lot of questions. Your gynecologist can ensure you understand your options and your course of action with a colposcopy and beyond. It’s important to ask questions and voice your concerns so that your gynecologist can walk you through the process and make sure you get the care you need. Additionally, your gynecologist can assess your results and weed out any false or positive results that may be incorrect. When your gynecologist has a relationship with you and your health history, they can plan the best steps for you to take.

Schedule an Appointment

When it comes to cancer prevention and testing, it’s important to partner with a compassionate, experienced gynecologist who can help you through the process. To meet with our expert team and discuss your options, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you awake for a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is performed in the office, while you are awake. This procedure is well-tolerated, and generally anesthesia is not required.

Can a colposcopy detect cancer?

A colposcopy is used when your Pap smear results are abnormal or inconclusive, and can help further identify whether cancerous or precancerous cells are present.

Can I go back to work after a colposcopy?

Yes, a colposcopy may be uncomfortable, but it is not an invasive procedure. You're free to continue with the rest of your day as normal.

Can I lift weights after colposcopy?

The only restrictions on physical activity after a colposcopy is pelvic rest; that means no sexual activity for the amount of time your provider recommends.

Can I shower before a colposcopy?

Most gastroenterologist recommend clear liquids for several days prior to colposcopy, then strong laxatives the day before

Can you eat or drink before a colposcopy?

Yes, you can eat and drink as normal before your colposcopy unless directed differently by your doctor.

Can you fly after colposcopy?

It is recommended that you do not fly on an airplane for at least six weeks after your colposcopy.

Can you go in a hot tub after a colposcopy?

You should avoid bathtubs for at least two to three days after your colposcopy or longer if discharge or bleeding persists.

Do I need a colposcopy every year?

Frequency of colposcopy is directly related to the result obtained from your Pap smears as well as any results from prior colposcopies.

Do I need to take time off work for a colposcopy?

You may return to work after your colposcopy.

Does a colposcopy get rid of HPV?

If infected with HPV, your body will always retain the virus; the purpose of colposcopy is to diagnose and treat the manifestations (cervical changes) brought on by HPV infection.

How do I prepare for a colposcopy?

Before your colposcopy, you should avoid having intercourse, using tampons, and taking vaginal medications for two days. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever shortly before your appointment begins to reduce any possible discomfort.

How long does a colposcopy appointment take?

You should avoid scheduling your colposcopy during your period, as well as avoid vaginal intercourse for the days before your colposcopy. Do not use tampons in the days leading up to your appointment and avoid using vaginal medications as well.

How long does it take for your cervix to heal after a colposcopy?

It can take 4-6 weeks for the cervix to heal following a colposcopy.

How many biopsies are taken during a colposcopy?

There is no proscribed amount of biopsies take; much depends upon the indication for the colposcopy (severity of the Pap smear) as well as visual findings noted by your provider.

What are the signs of infection after a colposcopy?

Signs of infection include a fever, unpleasant odor, and abnormal discharge.

What to expect after a colposcopy?

After your procedure, you may experience mild discomfort, a non-malodorous vaginal discharge, spotting, or bleeding for the next few days.

Can you have a colposcopy on period?

Ideally, scheduling your appointment around your predicted period dates is best as it allows your provider optimal visualization of your cervix.

“The entire practice is managed with care and intelligence. All the staff are friendly and convey a genuine desire to help and accommodate. Dr. Gottlieb is brilliant, down to earth, and doctors with common sense and smarts.”

-Ruth P.
Request an Appointment
We will contact you shortly!