Colposcopy is a non-invasive procedure used to inspect the cervix and the vagina. It provides clinical examination, diagnosis and treatment for women with abnormal cervical smears. The colposcopy procedure is similar to a Pap smear test. The doctor uses a specialized microscope to magnify the image of the surfaces of the cervix and vagina for direct examination of the cervix, vagina and vulva (vaginal opening). The microscope stays at a distance from the cervix and does not go inside you. During the examination, the doctor will apply a solution to the cervix to highlight any abnormal cervical tissues.

The doctor may take a small tissue sample from any abnormal areas on the cervix for a biopsy. The entire examination takes around 10-15 minutes.


What situations require a colposcopy?

  • Abnormal Pap smear results
  • Repeated episodes of vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse

These are signals of cervical disease, premalignant changes or even cervical cancer. It is recommended to get examined as soon as possible for early diagnosis.


The examination procedure

Colposcopy is a simple procedure, that usually takes around 10-15 minutes.

  1. The position is similar to a routine gynaecological examination, with the woman lying on the examination table, legs spread and placed on stirrups.
  2. The doctor will first insert a vaginal speculum into the vagina so that the cervix is easily seen.
  3. The doctor will then use a special microscope, i.e. colposcope to examine the cervix and vagina. A special solution will be applied to highlight the abnormal tissue.
  4. During the examination, the doctor may take biopsies from any suspicious areas of abnormalities for diagnosis.
  5. A pathology report is usually available within 1 week after cervical biopsy.



Q: Is colposcopy painful? Will it cause bleeding?

A: You may feel mild discomfort during the biopsy. There would be a small amount of bleeding after the biopsy. It means you may need to use sanitary napkins for a few days after the procedure. Most women can tolerate the discomfort without the need for anaesthesia.

Q: Will it affect my fertility?

A: No. Colposcopy will not affect your fertility as only a small amount of tissue is extracted from your cervix for biopsy.

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