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If your cervical smear test indicates abnormal cells are present your consultant may recommend a colposcopy.

A colposcopy is an examination of vaginal and cervical tissues using a colposcope. A colposcope is a type of microscope used to magnify the surface of the cervix 10 to 40 times its normal size.

A colposcopy can also be recommended to investigate:

  • Abnormal appearance of the cervix
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pain in the genital area
  • Inflammation of the cervix
  • Benign (non-cancerous) growths
  • Genital warts

What happens during a colposcopy?

A colposcopy takes 10-20 minutes. The first part of a colposcopy is very similar to having a cervical smear. A speculum will be used to gently hold your vagina open. The colposcope does not go inside your vagina - it simply magnifies the area so your consultant can closely examine your cervix. 

Your consultant may use some liquids to help highlight any abnormal areas of your cervix. They may also take a sample of the cells around your cervix for laboratory evaluation.

Going home after colposcopy

You should be able to go home right after having your colposcopy. You may experience slight bleeding or discharge for the first few days after this procedure. If you experience any heavy bleeding, cramping or fever be sure and contact your GP.


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