Having regular preventive care is one of the best ways you can safeguard your health, and that includes having routine Pap smear tests to screen for cervical cancer. While receiving an abnormal Pap result can make you feel anxious, it’s also the first step in stopping cervical cancer in its tracks. Board-certified gynecologist Dr. Julia Raber in New Hyde Park, NY, provides comprehensive care, including diagnostic colposcopies, for women with abnormal Pap test results. To find out more, call or book your appointment online today.
If your recent Pap smear test showed abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix, the first step in reaching an accurate diagnosis of the underlying problem is to have a colposcopy.
A colposcopy is a simple procedure that allows Dr. Raber a close-up view of your cervix through a special device called a colposcope. Because this instrument uses a bright light and a magnifying lens to greatly enlarge the view of your cervix, it helps her see it more clearly and in greater detail.
A colposcopy is an in-office procedure that usually takes 10-20 minutes.
It’s similar to a routine pelvic exam in that you lie comfortably on your back with your feet in supports. After inserting a speculum to gently open your vagina so she can see your cervix, Dr. Raber positions the colposcope instrument a few inches away from your vulva.
Next, she switches on the instrument’s bright light and looks through the binocular-like lenses at your cervix. She may use a solution to help highlight any suspicious-looking areas; some patients experience a mild tingling or burning sensation when the solution is applied.
If Dr. Raber notices any questionable-looking cells, she’ll perform a biopsy of the area by collecting a small tissue sample for laboratory testing.
A cervical biopsy can cause mild discomfort, but typically isn’t painful, while a vaginal biopsy can be slightly more uncomfortable. If Dr. Raber needs to take a tissue sample from your vulva or the lower part of your vagina, she’ll administer a local anesthetic first.
It’s normal to experience spotting or very light bleeding for a day or so following a routine colposcopy. If you didn’t have a biopsy, you should be able to resume normal activities immediately after the procedure.
If you did have a biopsy, however, you may experience minor pain or discomfort for a day or two. You may also have more significant vaginal bleeding, including a dark discharge, for a few days. You should avoid sexual intercourse, tampon use, and douching for at least a week as your cervix heals.
Cervical cells can appear abnormal for many reasons, and a colposcopy helps provide more definitive information about these abnormal cells.
In some cases, abnormal Pap results may simply be a sign of a small problem with your cervix. It can also indicate that you have slightly abnormal squamous cells that don’t necessarily indicate the presence of precancerous cells.
In such cases, Dr. Raber may perform further tests or recommend that you have a follow-up Pap test immediately or within a few months.
If your results indicate that you may have precancerous cells, such as atypical glandular cells or a squamous intraepithelial lesion, Dr. Raber will sit down with you to talk about your treatment options and what you can expect along the way.
If you’ve had abnormal Pap smear results, call Dr. Raber’s New Hyde Park office today, or make your appointment with the convenient online booking feature.