If you have received an abnormal cervical screening result or your practice nurse has visually noticed changes in your cervix, you may be invited to attend a colposcopy clinic.
Colposcopy is simply a more detailed look at the cervix. Instead of looking at the cervix with the naked eye, the person performing the colpscopy will use a special microscope to see the changes at high magnification with good lighting. Don’t worry about the sound of this! The microscope stays outside of your body. All that goes inside is the speculum, which is the instrument your GP or practice nurse used to see your cervix when taking your cervical screening. Some clinics may be equipped with video equipment so that you can watch the examination if you wish. The examination may take a little longer than a standard cervical screening test but the colposcopist (a doctor or nurse specifically trained to undertake colposcopy) performing the colposcopy will talk to you as you during the examination and tell you what is happening.
You should be looked after by staff dedicated to the colposcopy clinic. They will understand that you may be worried and will take time to discuss your screening result before the examination. You will be examined on a purpose-built couch. The cervix is viewed using a speculum (the instrument inserted into the vagina which was also used when you had your cervical screening test taken) and then examined with the colposcope at low magnification (4-6X). The colposcopist will put a number of different solutions on the cervix and look for changes that indicate the presence or otherwise of changes to the cells. The medical term for cervical changes is cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN).
Read more about the tests done at colposcopy, click here.
"Colposcopy." Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. N.p., 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.