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can you have a colposcopy on your period

What is a Colposcopy?

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Colposcopy is a simple examination of the cervix with a colposcope. It lets the doctor or nurse look more closely at the changes on the cervix to decide if any treatment is needed. The procedure is done as an outpatient appointment at hospital.

The colposcope is a low-power microscope mounted on a stand, used to look at the cervix under magnification. The examination is similar to the screening test.

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Preparing for a colposcopy test:

The colposcopy examination itself takes only 15 minutes, but you should allow up to an hour for your whole visit. This will include consultation with your colposcopist about the procedure.

What happens during the test?

For comfort, you may want to wear a loose skirt to your appointment. If not wearing a skirt, you will be asked to undress from the waist down and position yourself on a special couch, which will have padded support for your legs.

A nurse will be present throughout to assist you as much as you need. The doctor or specialist nurse will gently insert the speculum into your vagina, just like the initial screening test. This holds open the vaginal walls and allows a good view of the cervix. The colposcopist will look at the cervix through the colposcope (which does not touch you).

Another smear may be taken before a liquid is painted on the cervix to help show up any abnormal areas; this liquid may sting a little. A small sample of tissue (a biopsy) may be taken from an abnormal area. The biopsy may be uncomfortable but will not be painful. Further information is available in the Cervical Screening Information film.

After your examination

After your colposcopy you can usually return to work or carry on with your normal day.

What if I need treatment

The colposcopist will explain if you need any treatment. Sometimes this can be done at the time of your colposcopy or you may be asked to come back when the results of the biopsy are available. The treatment is usually simple to remove the abnormal area of cells and can be done under local anaesthetic as an outpatient. The choice of treatment used will depend on your case.

Will I need check-ups

Around six months after treatment you will usually be offered a cervical screening test again to check that your treatment has been successful. This test will be carried out at the hospital clinic.

If the result is normal/mild/borderline it will be tested for high risk HPV. If the test is negative for high risk HPV, you will be at low risk of ongoing cervical disease at that point in time. It will be important that you attend for screening again in three years.

If the cervical screening result shows moderate/severe changes, or if the high risk HPV test is positive, you will be referred for another colposcopy.

Although one in five women are invited back for another colposcopy, only a few will need further treatment. This is because it can take longer than 6 months for your immune system to clear HPV after treatment. Your hospital team will keep you under review until they are happy that you can safely return to routine screening tests.

can you have a colposcopy on your period

If you still have periods, it happens. When your doctor scheduled you for a colposcopy procedure you may not have thought you would have your period. What happens if you get your period? Should you reschedule your exam or can your doctor still do a colposcopy when you are menstruating? Can having your period interfere with your results? These are common questions, so don’t fret—let’s get to the bottom of this concern.

Understanding the Colposcopy Procedure

A colposcopy is a procedure which allows doctors to get a closer examination of a woman’s cervix. During a colposcopy, a doctor will first use a speculum to hold the walls of the vagina open (exactly the same process used during a routine pelvic examination). Then, the doctor will use an instrument called a colposcope, which is placed just outside the vagina.

As a magnifying device, the colposcope contains a light that is shined into the vagina and onto the cervix. (A colposcopy can be simplistically thought of as a Pap smear exam with a microscope). A weak solution of acetic acid is also applied to the cervix using a cotton swab, which allows the doctor to detect abnormal cells. Sometimes this can cause mild burning.
Reasons for Doing a Colonoscopy

Typically a colposcopy is performed if a woman is found to have abnormal cells on her Pap smear. During a colposcopy, the doctor may take a cervical biopsy (a small tissue sample).

This tissue can then be examined under a microscope to determine if an abnormal area of the cervix is benign, precancerous, or cancerous.

Your doctor may also recommend a colposcopy if she finds that you have an inflamed cervix, a positive HPV test, genital warts, growths on your cervix, or any symptoms that may be suspicious for cervical cancer like abnormal pain or bleeding.

There are many different types of abnormalities which may be found on a Pap smear and this can be very confusing. Learn more about abnormal Pap smear terminology such as ASCUS, SIL, AGC, dysplasia, and CIN, as well as the follow-up procedures which are usually recommended for each of these changes.
Can You Undergo A Colposcopy During Your Period?

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Cancer Society, it is best that a colposcopy is done when a woman is not having her menstrual period. This is because during menstruation, visualizing the cervix can be compromised.

That being said, if you are at the very end or very beginning of your cycle or your bleeding is very light, your doctor may wish to proceed. If you are not sure whether you should have the exam, it is best to call your doctor’s office. They can give you the best advice on whether you should reschedule your appointment or not.

Every woman is different, however, and there may be reasons why your doctor would want to go ahead with your colposcopy even with your period, or, on the other hand, reasons why she would prefer you would wait. If you are having abnormal uterine bleeding (dysfunctional uterine bleeding) or spot frequently, it may be necessary to have your colposcopy even with some blood present.

Your doctor will weigh many factors such as the chance that your colposcopy will find serious problems (for very abnormal Pap smears), risk factors you have for cervical cancer, your general health, and more.

In addition, it’s useful to know that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology also recommends that a woman does not douche, use tampons or vaginal medications, or have sexual intercourse for at least 24 hours before the colposcopy.
After a Colposcopy

For a few days after a colposcopy, you may have a dark vaginal discharge. Some light bleeding is normal, and you may feel sore and crampy.

If a biopsy was performed, you should not insert anything into your vagina for a week, including tampons, douches, and creams. In addition, you should refrain from sexual activity.

Rarely, a colposcopy can cause complications. The risk of complications is minimal, but if you experience any of the following, you should call your doctor:


Heavy or prolonged bleeding
Signs of vaginal infection
Pelvic pain

can you have a colposcopy on your period

can you have a colposcopy on your period

can you have a colposcopy on your period

can you have a colposcopy on your period

If your doctor schedules you for a colposcopy, it’s important that you have this procedure. Remember, the pap smear is just a screening test—a colposcopy with a biopsy is needed to determine whether cervical cancer or the changes that can progress to cervical cancer are present.
Bottom Line on Having a Colposcopy During Your Period

In general, it’s best to have a colposcopy procedure when you do not have your period, but rather than simply rescheduling your procedure you should call your doctor’s office and ask what they recommend. There may be times when your doctor will want to go ahead with the test, especially if you are at a lighter stage of your period. If you will need to reschedule your colposcopy, the ideal time appears to be about one week after your menstrual period.


What is Procedure Risks of colposcopy?

As with any procedure, there are risks. Although rare, some risks include heavy bleeding, pelvic pain and/or infection from the biopsies taken during the colposcopy. Notify your healthcare provider immediately if you experience heavy vaginal bleeding in which you are saturating a pad every hour, severe lower abdominal pain, fever or chills.



New patient colposcopy appointments can take 30-45 minutes. This includes a consultation with your doctor, the
colposcopy procedure itself similar to having a smear test and takes approximately 15 minutes.
• After your initial consultation with your specialist, you will be asked to lie on a raised bed with your legs up in
legs rests
• The colposcope will be put near the opening to your vagina. It will not touch your body. Your doctor will insert
a speculum in the same way as when you had your smear test. This makes it easier for the doctor to see your
cervix through the colposcope.
• A cotton swab may be used to remove excess mucous and a weak vinegar solution is applied to the cervix.
This makes areas that there are changes in the cells turn white helping the doctor to identify abnormalities.
• Iodine may be applied to view the cervix. During this examination healthy cells turn brown.
• If your doctor needs to take a biopsy – this will be the removal of some small tissue samples from the areas
that look abnormal. The removal of the tissue may be felt as a sharp pinch. The tissue collected is sent to a
laboratory for testing to confirm the diagnosis.

can you have a colposcopy on your period

can you have a colposcopy on your period

can you have a colposcopy on your period

can you have a colposcopy on your period

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