10 FAQs About Colposcopy


Every month, many women must visit a gynecologist. They may have an abnormal smear test and be advised to have a colposcopy, although this is not always the case.  For many, this is a first-time experience that can be overwhelming. For a better understanding of what is colposcopy, here are ten frequently asked questions from patients answered:

1. Do I have to go to a colposcopy?

The primary goal of colposcopy is to examine your cervix more closely, and like with cervical screening, you are in complete control at all times. You would not have been invited to a colposcopy if healthcare providers did not believe it was necessary. 

If you are concerned about colposcopy or have any questions, please contact your primary care physician, the hospital to whom you have been referred, or us. We are always here to assist you, whether by phone or online.

2. Should I be worried?

No, an abnormal smear result indicates that the test did its job and found certain cell abnormalities that require additional examination using a specific gadget known as a colposcopy.  Almost always, these alterations are modest (pre-cancerous) and do not lead to anything serious (such as cervical cancer). A colposcopy is an outpatient procedure that takes about 3-5 minutes.

3. Is it painful?

No, it is akin to a smear test, which some women find uncomfortable but not painful.

4. I have my period, should I cancel my appointment?

A period will not interfere with the colposcopy assessment, therefore there is no need to cancel a fresh colposcopy or treatment appointment. If a smear is also required (as in a follow-up colposcopy session), it may be best to avoid scheduling it during a period.

5. Is this true I can’t have sex, and use lubricants or tampons for 24 hours before my appointment?

Different hospitals and doctors may advise you to do or not do certain things before your consultation. If you are unclear, it is recommended to contact the hospital where your visit is scheduled.

6. If I’m pregnant can I still have a colposcopy?

Yes, depending on the stage of your pregnancy. Your doctor may want to meet you after your first trimester is over. If you are pregnant and require a colposcopy, please notify your doctor at the time of scheduling.

7. Is there anything I need to do before my colposcopy?

No, you are not required to do anything specific. You can eat and drink normally, but if your visit is first thing in the morning, you should have something to eat beforehand.

8. Should I bring a friend/partner?

You don't need to bring anyone with you to your appointment. However, if you are apprehensive or find smear tests unpleasant, you may bring someone close to your heart with you.

9. Can I have sex or masturbate after colposcopy?

A biopsy or treatment at a colposcopy can sometimes result in bleeding or changes in your vaginal discharge. If this occurs, it is preferable to wait until it has ended before engaging in vaginal penetrative intercourse. This includes:

  • oral sex (having a tongue inside your vagina)

  • fingering (having fingers inside your vagina)

  • vaginal sex (being penetrated by a penis, dildo, or other object)

The usual rule is to avoid putting anything in your vagina when experiencing side effects. If you want anal intercourse or clitoral stimulation, this should not exacerbate any side effects. 

If you are concerned or have particular issues, you should consult your doctor. 

10. After my colposcopy is there anything I can’t do?

No, you can continue as usual; you can go on vacation, swim, go to the gym, shower, and bathe as usual.  All we need is to see you again in 1-2 weeks to explain the findings and, if required, to schedule therapy.