Colposcopy

Colposcopy is situated in the Gynae Day Suite on the ground floor of the Women and Children’s Unit.

What does colposcopy Mean?

Colposcopy is the examination of the cervix (neck of the womb), vagina and/or vulva using a special microscope. The microscope does not go inside you, it lights up and makes the area for examination look bigger.

By using a special solution, the Doctor or Nurse may be able to spot any abnormal cells.

Why have I been asked to the Colposcopy Clinic?

You may have had an abnormal smear and it is important that we inspect the neck of the womb carefully to see if there is an abnormal area, which could explain the smear findings. We are not looking for cancer in the vast majority of patients, we are looking for a type of pre-cancer that may sometimes develop into cancer it is left untreated for a long time. Other reasons for a colposcopy may be the abnormal appearance of the cervix or vulva, even though the smear was ‘normal’. It may be possible to treat a polyp at the neck of the womb during a colposcopy.

What happens when I come for my colposcopy appointment?

At your first visit to the Colposcopy Unit, you will be asked about your medical history and we will explain why your appointment is necessary. The staff in the clinic will be happy to try and answer any questions you may have.

Once you fully understand the procedure the Doctor/Nurse will place an instrument in
the vagina just as your GP or Practice Nurse did when you had your smear taken. The cervix will be examined using the microscope and to highlight any abnormal areas we will apply solutions to your cervix. A biopsy (a small piece of tissue) may need to be taken from the cervix. We will discuss this with you before proceeding. During a biopsy you may feel a ‘pinching’ sensation. There should be very little, if any, discomfort.

What should I do if I’m having a period on the day of my appointment?

It may be difficult to see the cervix clearly if you are having a period on the day of your appointment, please ring the unit on 01253 955534/953488 so we can change your appointment to another day.

If I need treatment

If, when we examine you the neck of your womb looks like it needs treatment it can be done at your first visit, usually under local anaesthetic. At other times it is necessary to wait for your biopsy result. In certain cases it is decided that your treatment should be carried out in theatre. Whatever your plan of care it will be fully explained to you during your visit.

Please talk these options over with the Doctor/Nurse in the unit. It is important any problems or concerns you may have are sorted out right away. If you have a coil in place, we would recommend avoiding unprotected sexual intercourse for at least seven days prior to your appointment. This is a precaution in case treatment is needed at your first visit or if you are returning for treatment. This is to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy should the coil be removed/changed to enable treatment.

Are there any risks associated with treatment?

There is a small risk of bleeding and infection. There may be a small risk of pre-term delivery
in the future. It is a matter of removing abnormal cells whilst keeping possible future risks to a minimum. Please discuss any concerns with your Colposcopist.

When will I receive my examination results?

A copy of your results will be sent to you and your GP (usually four to six weeks). We will inform you if we are intending to carry out a treatment at your next visit or, if you have already had a treatment carried out, when and where your follow up will be.

Will I have problems with bleeding after a biopsy?

Discharge/bleeding is usual during your recovery. The timescale of which very much depends on the treatment you have had. An appropriate advice sheet is given at the end of your visit.

What should I do if I have any problems after the procedure?

Please telephone for advice if, after your Colposcopy, you have:-
• Heavy bleeding.
• Offensive discharge.
• Fever/chills.

Is there anyone I can talk to if I’m worried or have some more questions about the procedure?

If you are in any doubts about your treatment or want any further advice and information, please telephone 01253 955534 / 953488 to speak to the secretary or clinic staff.

More Information

Additional information including links to other languages:

NHS UK: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/colposcopy/

Jo’s Trust: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-us