Your gynecologist may order a colposcopy if your cervix appears abnormal during your pelvic exam and Pap smear, or if you have a history of prenatal DES exposure.
Colposcopy is a simple, 10- to 15-minute procedure that is painless and performed in a gynecologist’s office. You are positioned on the examination table like you are for a Pap smear, and an acetic acid (such as common table vinegar) is placed on the cervix.
Your physician will use a colposcope — a large, electric microscope that is positioned approximately 30 cm from the vagina — to view your cervix. A bright light on the end of the colposcope lets the gynecologist clearly see the cervix.
During the initial evaluation, a medical history is obtained, including gravidity (number of prior pregnancies), parity (number of prior deliveries), last menstrual period, contraception use, prior abnormal pap smear results, allergies, significant past medical history, other medications, prior cervical procedures, and smoking history. In some cases, a pregnancy test may be performed before the procedure. The procedure is fully described to the patient, questions are asked and answered, and the patient then signs a consent form.