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General Obstetrics and Gynecology: Colposcopy

The Colposcopy Clinic at UF Health Jacksonville is specifically designed to evaluate patients who have an abnormal Pap smear. Patients are referred to these clinics by their physicians and are seen every Thursday in the Care Center for Women.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colposcopy

What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is a test where the doctor examines the inside of your vagina and takes a gentle scraping of cells from your cervix. Women should get a Pap smear once a year to screen for cervical dysplasia (pre-cancer) and cancer. Cervical cancer is a common cancer among women and is easy to detect and treat in the early stages (pre-cancer).

What happens if my Pap smear is abnormal?
You will either be treated with antibiotics (for infection) or your Pap smear may be repeated in three months (many times, a Pap smear will revert back to normal on its own). Also, your doctor may recommend that you undergo a special test called colposcopy.

What is colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a special test in which the doctor puts a vinegar solution in your vagina to highlight the abnormal areas and then looks at your cervix with a special microscope. If any areas of pre-cancer are found, a biopsy may be taken from that area. This may also include a special biopsy from the cervical (birth) canal called an ECC. A biopsy provides a definite diagnosis that a Pap smear can not make.

What happens to me after my colposcopy?
You can usually return to work the same day. You may have some mild cramping and some light bleeding for a few days, but taking ibuprofen or aspirin and using your usual menstrual hygiene will relieve any discomfort. You should not have sex for 2-4 weeks after your biopsy.