Preparing for Your Colposcopy

Before making a diagnosis and creating a treatment plan, your doctor should gather as much info as possible. 

This starts with asking about your symptoms and health background, but to delve more deeply, this often means getting a screening or procedure that’s more specific. This way, your doctor can rule out specific conditions or just get a better look at your treatment area.

One such procedure is a colposcopy. Dr. Peter Khamvongsa is specially trained in administering colposcopies comfortably and expertly, and it’s just one of the many services he offers. This sophisticated test can give him important information, and if you’re scheduled for one, there are things you can do to lessen test-related jitters. 

Here’s a look at what’s involved in a colposcopy and how to prepare.

What is a colposcopy and what’s its purpose?

This in-office procedure allows Dr. Khamvongsa to examine your cervix, vagina, and vulva closely for various conditions. For example, if your Pap test results come back as unclear or suspicious, a colposcopy enables him to get a detailed view of your cervix and take a biopsy if necessary.

Other conditions this test can diagnose include:

Dr. Khamvongsa uses a colposcope to perform the test. It’s equipped with a magnifier and bright light that allows him to see these areas clearly and closely.

Fortunately, the Miami Institute of Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery is equipped with a state-of-the art DYSIS® Ultra colposcope that offers superior resolution of your tissue. It also allows Dr. Khamvongsa to superimpose a specially created map that alerts him to any area that’s suspicious. 

What’s a colposcopy like?

Like your Pap test, when you get a noninvasive routine colposcopy, you lie on our exam table with your feet in stirrups, and Dr. Kahmvongsa uses a speculum. 

Thanks to the colposcope light and magnifier, he can view your cervix and tissue clearly. He then swabs your vagina and cervix to remove any mucus that might obscure what he sees. 

Typically he applies a solution to your cervix that whitens any suspicious areas, so he can evaluate exactly the right area. The solution may cause slight tingling or a very mild burning sensation, but it isn’t highly uncomfortable.

If the solution that Dr. Khamvongsa uses shows a suspicious area, he gently extracts a small tissue sample and sends it off to a lab for analysis. 

After collecting his tissue images, the DYSIS mapping software defines the precise areas that are abnormal. From there, Dr. Khamvongsa determines the next steps in your diagnosis and treatment. 

Altogether, the procedure takes only 10 to 20 minutes.

How should I prepare for my colposcopy?

We understand that it’s anxiety-producing to get a colposcopy, and it’s natural to be concerned about whether Dr. Khamvongsa will find an abnormality. The good news is that he’s looking for precancerous abnormalities, which are the most treatable kind. 

That said, here are some things you can do to make the procedure go as smoothly and comfortably as possible:

  1. Schedule your procedure when you’re not menstruating. The presence of blood makes it more difficult to see your cervix. The ideal time to schedule it is several days following the end of your period. 
  2. Don’t have sex for a couple of days before your procedure. Putting anything in your vagina, such as a diaphragm, can cause inflammation, and spermicide or sperm can alter the lab’s findings. Both can make for less-accurate results.
  3. Consider taking over-the-counter pain medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, about 30 minutes before your procedure to lessen discomfort afterwards.
  4. Address the stress you may be feeling as your colposcopy approaches. This might mean exercising, meditating, reading, or talking with a friend. Whatever comforts you, do it.
  5. Speaking of stress, it’s always helpful to go to your appointment prepared so you feel empowered. Dr. Khamvongsa is happy to answer any questions about your procedure and listen to your concerns. Likewise, if you have a biopsy, inquire about when the results will be available. 
  6. Bring pads in your purse when you come for your procedure, because you will typically have a pink or darker discharge after your procedure.

Dr. Khamvongsa can also perform vulvoscopy and vaginoscopy — procedures that investigate vaginal irregularities — with the colposcope. No preparation is needed on your part for either of these, and there’s no downtime afterwards. 

Call our office at 786-220-8664 or request an appointment online to learn more about advanced colposcopy.

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