Dr. Wirth helps women determine the cause of abnormal Pap tests with colposcopy, an advanced diagnostic technique that uses magnification to look for abnormal cells and other signs of disease or infection in his New York City patients.
A colposcopy is a diagnostic exam that uses a lighted magnifying device to look inside your vagina and check for signs of abnormal cells and other anomalies. In some cases, a colposcopy can be performed as part of a routine exam, but most often, it's performed in response to abnormal Pap test results to check for the presence of cancerous cells or HPV and other disease-related changes. It's also used to evaluate the effectiveness of medical treatments.
The exam is performed using a speculum, the same instrument that's used during a routine exam to widen the vaginal opening so the interior can be better seen. Next, a special solution may be applied to the walls of your vagina and cervix which helps abnormal cells be more visible. The colposcope is gently inserted through the vagina, and Dr. Wirth will use the magnifier to examine any abnormal cells that appear. When necessary, a biopsy or small tissue scraping may be performed so the tissues can be microscopically evaluated to look for signs of disease.
The colposcopy procedure feels about the same as your routine exam.
No, in many cases, abnormal results are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), yeast infections or other types of vaginitis. Menopause may also cause abnormal Pap results. The biopsy sample taken during the colposcopy will be able to determine what is causing a Pap test to return an abnormal result.
Sometimes when a biopsy is required, you may have very minor bleeding or spotting afterward, as well as mild cramping, all of which resolve very quickly.