A colposcopy is a clinical test to evaluate an abnormal Pap test. When a Pap test shows abnormal cells, a colposcopy can be a more definitive test to evaluate cervical dysplasia (abnormal cells occurring on your cervix). It allows evaluations of the entire cervix by direct visualization where a Pap smear only looks at a sample of cervical cells.


A colposcopy examines the cervix (the opening to the uterus) with a special microscope (colposcope), and if abnormal areas are found, a biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue) may be necessary to confirm findings


  1. A speculum is inserted into the vagina as with a Pap test and the colposcope is used to view the cervix.
  2. A very mild acid solution is used to wipe off the excess mucous and help highlight the abnormal cells.
  3. If abnormal cells are found, a biopsy of that tissue may be necessary. A sample of the cervical canal is also done to evaluate if any abnormal cells are there. This might cause some mild cramping. 
  4. To control any bleeding, a swab soaked in a yellow solution (Monsel's solution) is placed on the cervix. This solution will be discharged after 1-2 days and it will have a coffee grounds appearance.
  5. The speculum is then removed and the procedure is over.


  1. You may have some mild cramping after the procedure and up to a few hours afterwards. You may take Ibuprofen products (Advil, Motrin) if you are not pregnant. Check with your doctor if you are pregnant before taking any medication for the cramping.
  2. You may have some mild spotting after the procedure.
  3. You may notice a black, coffee ground, discharge from your vagina. This is the Monsel's solution. This is normal.
  4. DO NOT douche, use tampons, or have intercourse for 7-10 days after the colposcopy.
  5. It will take about 10-14 days for you to receive information on the biopsy results and the follow-up plans.
  6. If you have any other questions, please call the office and we will be happy to discuss them with you.