A colposcopy is a quick procedure that is performed in the gynecology office. Thanks to this test cellular changes are detected in the cervix that are at risk of becoming cancer. But the question that will always go through our minds is: does a colposcopy hurt?
To answer this question we will discover step by step how a colposcopy is performed. what is possible to happen during the procedure and some final recommendations that we should take into account.
What happens during a colposcopy?
To know if a colposcopy hurts or not, it is necessary that we know how this test is carried out. As we have said, its objective is to analyze the cells of the uterus to see the changes that the Human Papilloma Virus has caused.
The two types of HPV that can lead to cancer are 16 and 18. When we have contracted one of them, it is essential that our gynecologist follow us to determine how to act to eliminate the virus. The normal thing, at least in young people, is that it disappears.
When we undergo a colposcopy it is better that we do not have the menstrual period. So the gynecologist can better see the cervix. But, let’s see how this procedure is carried out:
- We lie down on the gynecology consultation table as if they were going to do a routine exam.
- The gynecologist will insert a speculum into the vagina and open it to separate the walls and see better the cervix.
- A solution of vinegar or iodine will be used to wash the cervix. This will clean the area and allow you to see areas with abnormal cells.
- With a colposcope, a kind of binocular telescope, the areas of the cervix will stand out thanks to the solution used.
- If highlighted areas due to changes in the cells, the gynecologist will perform a biopsy. This can be of two types: tissue is removed from the outside or inside the cervix.
- The procedure usually lasts between 5 and 10 minutes.
Does a colposcopy hurt?
Now that we know how a colposcopy is performed, it is time to answer the question of whether it hurts or not. Surely what concerns us most is the biopsy, however, we will also see if the solution of vinegar and iodine causes us some kind of discomfort.
Let’s make it clear that a colposcopy is practically painless. When doing it we will not notice a great pain, but it is possible that we feel some discomfort. For example, when we wash the cervix it is normal to notice some itching and burning.
In the case that we have to perform a biopsy we will feel a sharp prick or something like menstrual pain. It is important to clarify that the more areas that present cellular changes, the biopsy will have to be performed more times.
For example, imagine that the test detects cellular changes in the upper part of the cervix and on the sides. The normal thing would be that we extracted a part of tissue from each area. However, this will not cause more pain. Only more occasions in which we will notice that sharp prick.
Recommendations after the biopsy
Now that we know that a colposcopy hurts much less than we might think, it is important that we have some recommendations in mind after the biopsy. Well it’s going to be normal for us to have some type of vaginal discharge with blood due to the procedure.
This should not scare us because they will not always have to perform a biopsy. In the case that nothing strange is detected, this part of the procedure will not be carried out.
When a cytology shows that we have HPV 16 or 18, this does not mean that we present cellular changes in our cervix. However, colposcopy will confirm or disprove this to determine the next steps to follow.
Do you still think a colposcopy hurts? Have you submitted to this test? We hope we have solved many of your doubts and reassured about the belief that a colposcopy hurts a lot.