Regular preventive care is one of the best ways to safeguard your health, and that includes having routine Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. While receiving an abnormal Pap test result can be concerning, it’s also the first step in assuring your cervical health. At the East Cobb office in Marietta, Johns Creek office in Duluth, and Northside and Midtown offices in Atlanta, Georgia, the team at North Atlanta Women's Specialists provides comprehensive care, including diagnostic colposcopies, for women with abnormal Pap test results. To schedule your colonoscopy, call your nearest office or book online today.
If your recent Pap smear test showed abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix, the next step in reaching an accurate diagnosis is to have a colposcopy.
A colposcopy is a simple procedure that allows the team at North Atlanta Women's Specialists to view your cervix through a special device called a colposcope.
This device uses a bright light and a magnifying lens to greatly enlarge the view of your cervix, helping them to see it more clearly and in greater detail.
A colposcopy is similar to a routine pelvic exam, in that you lie on your back with your feet in supports. Your provider begins by inserting a speculum to gently open your vagina so they can see your cervix. Then, they position the colposcope a few inches away from your vulva.
After switching on the instrument’s bright light, they look through the binocular-like lenses at your cervix and use a solution to help highlight any suspicious-looking areas; you may experience a mild tingling or burning sensation when the solution is applied.
If your provider spots any questionable-looking cells, they perform a biopsy to collect a small tissue sample for laboratory testing. A colposcopy usually takes 15-20 minutes.
A cervical biopsy might cause mild discomfort, but it typically isn’t painful. Your provider can administer a local anesthetic prior to taking any tissue samples from your vagina or vulvar area, as abnormal cells can also be found on your vagina or vulva.
If you didn’t have a biopsy during your colposcopy, you most likely will not experience any spotting and you may resume normal activities without restriction.
If you did have a biopsy, you may have some pain or discomfort for a day or two. You may also experience some vaginal bleeding, including a dark discharge, for a few days. You should avoid sexual intercourse, tampon use, and douching for about a week as your cervix heals.
Cervical cells can be abnormal for a variety of reasons, and a colposcopy helps provide more information about these abnormal cells.
Abnormal cells may simply be a sign of a small problem with your cervix, or they may indicate that you have slightly abnormal squamous cells that don’t clearly indicate the presence of precancerous cells.
In such cases, the team at North Atlanta Women's Specialists may perform further tests or recommend that you have a follow-up Pap test within a few months.
If your results show you have potentially precancerous cells, such as atypical glandular cells or a squamous intraepithelial lesion, the team talks to you about your options and what you can expect along the way.
To learn more and see if a colonoscopy is right for you, call North Atlanta Women's Specialists or book an appointment online.