How To Prepare continued...
Do not have sexual intercourse or put anything into your vagina for 24 hours before a colposcopy. This includes douches, tampons, and vaginal medicines. You will empty your bladder just before your colposcopy.
You may want to take a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), 30 to 60 minutes before having a colposcopy, especially if a biopsy may be done. This can help decrease any cramping pain that can be caused by the colposcopy.
Schedule your colposcopy for when you are not having your period. Heavy bleeding makes it harder for your doctor to see your cervix. The best time to schedule a colposcopy is during the early part of your menstrual cycle, 8 to 12 days after the start of your last menstrual period.
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the colposcopy, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
Colposcopy is usually done by a gynecologist, a family medicine physician, or a nurse practitioner who has been trained to do the test. If a biopsy is done, the sample will be looked at by a pathologist. Colposcopy can be done in your doctor's office.
You will need to take off your clothes below the waist. You will be given a covering to drape around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by foot rests (stirrups).
The doctor will insert a lubricated tool called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so your doctor can see inside the vagina and the cervix.
The colposcope is moved near your vagina, and your doctor looks through the microscope at the vagina and cervix. Vinegar (acetic acid) or iodine (Lugol's solution) may be used on your cervix to make abnormal areas more visible. Photographs or videos of the vagina and cervix may be taken.