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Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the colposcopy or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • If you have sexual intercourse 24 hours before the colposcopy.
  • The use of douches, tampons, or vaginal creams or medicines 24 hours before the colposcopy.
  • If you are having a menstrual period at the time of the colposcopy.
  • If a vaginal or cervical infection is present.
  • If you have gone through menopause. Hormonal changes may make it hard to see the cervical canal clearly.

What To Think About

  • Colposcopy is not usually used as a screening test for women at high risk for cervical cancer. A Pap test is done for that purpose. But a colposcopy gives you and your doctor more information if you have an abnormal result from a Pap test.
  • If a colposcopy and cervical biopsy are normal, it is not likely that you have cell changes that can lead to cervical cancer. But your doctor may still want you to have Pap tests more often for a period of time.
  • Another biopsy may be needed if a Pap test, colposcopy, and cervical biopsy show different results.
  • Women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have a higher chance of developing cervical cancer. A colposcopy is usually recommended for women with HIV and an abnormal Pap test.

Related Information

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of March 12, 2014
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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