Colposcopy: what it is and what it is for

Colposcopy is a second-level test that is performed when the pap test has detected lesions or abnormalities, allowing further investigation of the condition of the tissues of the cervix and vagina

What is colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a test that is performed to diagnose the health condition of the cervix and vagina.

It is performed using an instrument called a colposcope, which allows the medical specialist to examine the areas of interest up close and through magnifying glasses, after the application of 2 reagents.

The test lasts on average about 15-20 minutes, and causes no pain.

Its main function is to detect any macroscopically detectable lesions on which it might be important to perform a targeted biopsy.

The aim is to diagnose cervical and vaginal cancers at an early stage, but it can also be very useful for the observation and analysis of other benign conditions such as condylomas.

How is colposcopy performed?

Colposcopy is performed by having the patient lie on the couch in the gynaecological position.

The gynaecologist then introduces the speculum, an instrument that stretches the walls of the vagina to show the cervix and the walls of the vagina.

A small swab is then inserted onto which a solution of first acetic acid and then iodine is applied. In this way, any tissue abnormalities are more easily identified.

Based on the picture that emerges after the application of the two reagents, the doctor will decide whether and where to perform the targeted biopsy.

Colposcopy is not a painful test, although the insertion of the solutions may sometimes create a burning sensation.

In some cases during the colposcopy, it may be necessary to take a biopsy, i.e. a small sample of tissue that will then be sent to the laboratory for histological examination.

No special precautions are necessary after the test, but small amounts of bleeding may occur in the days following the test.

How to prepare for colposcopy?

To carry out the colposcopy, it is best to schedule the test away from the menstrual flow, and, in the 24 hours prior to the test, avoid sexual intercourse and do not use vaginal insertion drugs (such as ovules, douches, candles).

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