What happens during a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is done to further evaluate an abnormal pap smear.  Your practitioner gently places an appropriate size speculum into your vagina and identifies your cervix.  A cotton swab is then used to apply vinegar to your cervix.  The vinegar will cause abnormal cells on the cervix to "light up".  When biopsy specimens are taken, it can feel like a menstrual cramp.  A liquid iron solution is placed over the biopsy area to stop any bleeding.  Generally, the cramping resolves in a few minutes.  This solution causes a discharge that looks like coffee grounds for several days.  You should not put anything into your vagina for at least one week after your colposcopy.  We will give you a sanitary pad to wear home after the colposcopy.

Will I need to get a cervical biopsy?

Your women’s health practitioner will probably recommend taking a biopsy, or tissue sample, from the cervix or vagina if there are any abnormalities detected that require further testing. If you need  a cervical biopsy, our women’s health specialist will use an instrument to remove a small  piece of tissue from your cervix and also from your endocervix. It’s normal to feel pressure and cramping during a biopsy.

After the biopsy, we will send your samples to a lab for testing. It can take up to one week or more to get your results. We will provide you with further instructions when you come back into our office to discuss your results. If there are abnormal cells present within the cervix, further testing or treatment may be required.

Post Colposcopy Instructions  

As your cervix heals from the colposcopy procedure, there may be a few things things that you notice.

You may have some mild cramping which Ibuprofen may help.  Light bleeding and brown discharge can also be normal.  Severe cramping, fever, or heavy bleeding, are not normal and you should call us if you experience these symptoms. 

 You may have a heavier than usual flow with your next period.

Avoid the following for 1 week after your colposcopy:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Tampons
  • Heavy lifting
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Douching


Whether you need to schedule your upcoming pap smear or you have questions about getting a colposcopy in Atlanta, GA, call Ideal Gynecology at (470) 312-3696.

Contact Us


(470) 312-3696
3200 Downwood Circle Suite 220 Atlanta, GA 30327