A colposcopy is a minimally-invasive test offered at Lively Wellness and Aesthetics in Odessa, TX. During this test, the surface of the cervix is examined with a colposcope to identify abnormalities. Depending on your unique circumstances, a bit of tissue may be removed for testing. While this test can provide a lot of insight into the health of a woman’s cervix, it is not right for everyone. Read on to discover everything you need to know.
Who Is a Candidate for a Colposcopy?
A colposcopy is usually recommended for women who have unusual bleeding, an abnormal vaginal or cervical growth, or a cervical screening test that returns abnormal results, like ASCUS or squamous intraepithelial lesions.
This test is very helpful for diagnosing such conditions as genital warts and cervical inflammation. It is also a great diagnostic tool for women who may have cancer. It can detect benign growths, like polyps, as well as malignant growths, like cervical cancer or precancer. Note that not everyone with cervical dysplasia qualifies.
How Should I Prepare for My Test?
You should schedule your test for a day that you are not menstruating. Do not wear tampons, have vaginal intercourse, use vaginal medicines, or douche during the two days preceding your test.
What Should I Expect During My Test?
You should expect your test to take only around 15 minutes to complete. You should not expect it to be painful. Due to the minimally-invasive nature of this test, there is no need for general anesthesia. However, a local anesthetic may be administered if you undergo a biopsy in a sensitive area, like the vulva. There is no need for anesthesia if there is a cervical growth because there are no pain receptors on the cervix.
Before the test begins, you will be instructed to lie on your back. Your legs will be raised and put in stirrups. Once you are properly positioned, you will feel a speculum being used to open your vagina. Once your vagina is opened sufficiently, your cervix will be cleaned with an antiseptic. Then, a microscope that remains outside of your vagina is used to get a closer look at your cervix.
What Should I Expect After My Test?
If you only undergo a colposcopy and don’t have any local tissue samples taken, you can go right back to your usual activities. If a tissue sample is taken, you will need to avoid vigorous exercise, vaginal intercourse, personal lubricants, and tampons. Moreover, you should avoid swimming and bathing. Showering after your test is okay.
If you undergo a biopsy, you will need to wait several weeks for your results. In almost all cases of abnormal cervical cancer screenings, there are no malignant tumors present. The United States has seen a significant decrease in cervical cancer cases. This is partially due to women getting regular Pap tests and treating precancerous cells early.
How Often Should I Get a Pap Test?
Women who are between 21 and 65 years of age should generally get a Pap test every three years. Exceptions apply, though. For instance, if you are at least 30 years old and get an HPV test at the same time as your Pap test, you will only need to come in for cervical cancer screening every five years.
Do Some Women Need More Frequent Cervical Cancer Screenings?
Yes, some women do need more frequent screenings for cervical cancer. For example, you are at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer if you have HIV, so you should come in for screening more frequently. You also should come in for screening more frequently if your mother exposed you to diethylstilbestrol while she was carrying you.
A weakened immune system also increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. If your immune system was weakened by chemotherapy or chronic use of corticosteroids, you should come in for cervical cancer screening more regularly. You also should strongly consider coming in more frequently for screenings if you are a smoker.
Are Some Women Exempt From Regular Pap Testing?
Yes, some women are exempt from regular Pap testing. There may be no need to come in for cervical cancer screening if you have had a total hysterectomy. Specifically, screening won’t be necessary if your cervix and uterus were removed to treat a noncancerous condition, like uterine fibroids. If you have had a partial hysterectomy, you should still be screened for cervical cancer regularly.
What Can I Expect After a Pap Test?
After your painless Pap test, your usual routine may resume. You’ll need to wait about a business week to get your results back. In some cases, though, it can take up to three weeks for your test results to come back.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
A woman with unusual bleeding, an unusual growth, or an unusual cervical screening test result is a candidate for a colposcopy. This test can be used to diagnose numerous conditions, including genital warts, cervical inflammation, cervical cancer, and polyps. Contact us today at Lively Wellness and Aesthetics in Odessa, TX to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing feminine health issues.