Colposcopy is a procedure that closely examines a woman’s cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of cancer precancer cells. Doctors who perform colposcopy procedures in Singapore use a colposcope, which is a special lighted and magnifying instrument that allows a clearer and closer view of the cervix and vaginal walls
Usually, colposcopy in Singapore is advised by doctors when a Pap test or pelvic exam turns out abnormal results. It can also be used to check for genital warts, cervicitis, or inflammation of the cervix, and precancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix, vagina and vulva.
A colposcopy is relatively painless, though it comes with mild discomfort. Patients may feel a slight pressure as the speculum enters the vagina. Additionally, patients may experience a temporary stinging sensation when the solution makes contact with the cervix.
A colposcopy is a non-invasive procedure and is not considered a surgery. However, there are cases wherein a colposcopy is done right before a biopsy (cervical biopsy), which is a minor surgical procedure that involves abnormal cell or tissue samples being obtained from the cervix and assessed in a laboratory.
Before undergoing a colposcopy, there are some preparations that patients must make, such as:
Performed in a doctor’s office, a colposcopy takes 10 to 20 minutes. Patients are instructed to lie on their backs on the table, with each foot supported on stirrups located on the sides of the table. A smooth, tube-shaped tool called a speculum is placed in the vagina that holds open the walls of the vagina in order for the doctors to have a view of the cervix. The colposcope will then be used to have a more detailed and close-up view of the cervix.
If any area looks suspicious or abnormal, a small sample of cells will be obtained from the cervix (cervical biopsy) and sent for further testing. During a cervical biopsy, patients are expected to feel a little cramp or pinch.
After a colposcopy, patients are able to continue with their daily activities, especially when a biopsy didn’t take place. If a cervical biopsy was performed, do refrain from using tampons, applying creams, douching (this is never recommended) or having sexual intercourse for up to a week afterwards.
In the next few days, patients may experience spotting or light bleeding from their vagina. However, if a biopsy was done, patients may experience mild vaginal pain and light or dark bleeding from the vagina.
The results of the colposcopy will indicate whether patients might need any further treatment (if abnormalities are found). It will also help your doctor formulate a personalised cervical cancer screening schedule.
If abnormalities are revealed during a colposcopy, doctors may recommend that patients repeat the Pap test more often. They can also advise patients to undergo treatments such as:
SC Quek Gynaecology is a cervical cancer treatment clinic that offers comprehensive women’s healthcare services such as colposcopy and cervical cancer screening in Singapore. For more information, call 6479 9555.
To that end, he serves on the board of the International Federation of Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology, and his extensive research and humanitarian work centre around HPV and cervical cancer as well.