If low-grade changes persist or if a high-grade abnormality is found, you will be referred to a gynaecologist for an examination called a colposcopy.

A colposcope (an instrument that magnifies the cells of the cervix) gives a closer view of the cervix to check the extent and nature of the problem.

How is a colposcopy done?

For the examination, you will be asked to partly undress and then lie on an examination couch. Special support rests will keep your legs lifted. Once you are comfortable, the doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina, just like a Pap test.

The doctor will paint the cervix with a solution to highlight any abnormal areas. The doctor will then look through the colposcope to carefully examine the cervix. In this way, the doctor can see the location and pattern of any abnormal cells. The colposcope itself does not enter the body.

This whole examination usually takes 10 to 15 minutes and most women do not experience any pain. You may have some discomfort from having the speculum inside your vagina for this length of time. Try to relax during the examination. Ask the doctor or nurse to explain what is happening. Some colposcopes are fitted with a TV screen so you may watch what is happening.

Talk to your doctor about what was found during the examination. Once this is determined, there are various treatment options available if necessary. Your doctor will recommend what's right for you.

For more information view the Colposcopy information sheet.

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