What is Colposcopy?

If your Ob/Gyn receives an abnormal Pap test (which is quite common – about 10 percent of Pap tests show abnormal cells), he or she will recommend that you have a colposcopy.

A colposcopy is a thorough diagnostic procedure that allows your gynecologist to examine your cervix for any abnormal cells or blood vessels using a microscope known as a colposcope. A colposcope is a specialized instrument that includes a magnifying lens, which allows your Viva Eve Ob/Gyn, a specialist in colposcopy, to visualize the surfaces of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in great detail and also help determine if you need to have a test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

How do you prepare for a Colposcopy?

A colposcopy is usually performed by your Viva Eve gynecologist right in the office. Here is how you should prepare for your visit:

  • Try to schedule your colposcopy when you are not menstruating.
  • Take an over-the counter pain reliever recommended by your doctor 30 to 60 minutes before the procedure if you are worried about mild cramping.
  • Do not insert anything into your vagina for a full 24 hours before the procedure — including vaginal creams, douches, or tampons.
  • Do not have sex for 24 hours before and after your colposcopy procedure.
  • Do not take aspirin before the colposcopy procedure without your doctor’s knowledge, as it can increase the chances of bleeding. Your doctor will ask you to discontinue any prescription blood thinners a few days before the procedure.
  • Discuss the possibility that you are pregnant with your gynecologist. He can probably do the colposcopy without injury to you or your fetus, but he may decide not to do a biopsy.
  • Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking or any allergies to medications.
  • Discuss any bleeding problems you have had in the past.
  • Tell your gynecologist if you have been recently treated for a vaginal, cervical, or pelvic infection.
  • A colposcopy procedure usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. It’s primarily an observational test that allows your colposcopy gynecologist to visually examine your reproductive organs. He only needs to do a colposcopy biopsy procedure if he finds something unusual.

Why is a Colposcopy performed?

Your Viva Eve healthcare provider will recommend a colposcopy to closely examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva using a specialized instrument called a colposcope.

Here are the primary reasons why a colposcopy is performed:

  • Your Pap smear shows abnormal results, such as atypical cells or indications of pre-cancerous or cancerous changes
  • If genital warts are observed during a pelvic examination
  • To detect cervical lesions or abnormalitie
  • To evaluate vaginal or vulvar abnormalities, like suspicious lesions, ulcers, etc.

What can you expect during a Colposcopy?

During a colposcopy, a speculum is inserted into the vagina to visualize the cervix, and the colposcope is used to magnify the cervix and surrounding areas. The doctor may apply a vinegar-like solution to highlight any abnormal areas, and if necessary, small tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken for further analysis.

The procedure is relatively painless. The patients may feel slight pressure when the speculum enters the vagina or a slight burning or stinging when the solution comes into contact with the cervix. If biopsy is needed, patients may feel a sharp pinch or a sensation like a period cramp when the tissue sample is taken.

What is the followup and recovery like for a Colposcopy?

Most patients can resume their normal activities within a day or two after having a colposcopy.

We advise our patients to take it easy for the remainder of the day following the procedure.

Some vaginal discharge and light spotting are common and the discharge may be dark in color initially because of the solution applied during the colposcopy. Patients are advised to use pads instead of tampons and postpone having intercourse for a few days after the procedure.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help alleviate any mild cramping or discomfort similar to menstrual cramps after the colposcopy.

Your healthcare provider will discuss the results of the colposcopy with you and will let you know additional treatments are necessary. It is very important to follow your Viva Eve healthcare provider’s recommendations.

What are the potential costs for a Colposcopy?

A colposcopy is typically covered by health insurance. Out-of-pocket costs would include a doctor visit copay and coinsurance of 10 to 50 percent for the procedure — and, if a biopsy is done, a laboratory copay. 

Do the benefits of colposcopy outweigh any risks?


  • The benefits of the colposcopy procedure far outweigh any risks associated with it.
  • If precancerous cells are found via colposcopy and biopsy, treatment can allow your doctor to prevent the development of cervical cancer.


Colposcopy is a very common and safe procedure with very rare side effects. You should however contact your colposcopy doctor if you have any of the following:

  • The discharge begins to have a strong, foul odor.
  • Your pain does not improve with over-the-counter medication.
  • Bleeding continues for longer than seven days.
  • Significant bleeding occurs, which causes you to use more than one sanitary pad per hour.
  • You have severe lower abdominal pain.
  • You run a fever or have chills after a colposcopy biopsy.

Talk to a specialist to see if a Colposcopy is right for you.


Sign up for emails

Receive the latest women’s health content from Viva Eve.

You have Successfully Subscribed!