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Procedures

Colposcopy

Your doctor can use a colposcopy to diagnose cervical cancer, genital warts, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer, as well. Once your doctor gets the results from your colposcopy, they’ll know whether or not you need further tests. Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend colposcopy.

Women's HealthCare of Dothan
Dothan, Alabama Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dothan, Alabama Obstetrics, Gynecology, colposcopy

Definition

Colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows your provider to check your cervix (lower part of your uterus) and the wall of your vagina for abnormal tissue. The exam takes 5 to 10 minutes, and is a lot like getting a Pap smear. During colposcopy, your doctor uses a special lighted magnifying instrument called a colposcope.

Why The Test is Performed

You usually get a colposcopy if you had some sort of abnormal results on your Pap test so your doctor can further diagnose any problems.

If your provider sees abnormal tissue during a colposcopy, he or she may take a small sample of tissue for further study and laboratory testing (biopsy).

Abnormal Test Results

Your provider may use colposcopy to diagnose and assist in the treatment of:
N

Your Pap results were abnormal.

N

Your cervix looks abnormal during a pelvic exam.

N

Tests show you have the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

N

You have unexplained bleeding or other problems.

N

Genital warts, which may suggest infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), a risk factor for developing cervical cancer

N

Polyps (noncancerous growths)

N

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy, as DES exposure raises the risk for cancer of the reproductive system

Additional Resources

Learn more from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists