Colposcopy FAQs

A colposcopy can often be a first time experience, and for many women who may have received an abnormal smear result, may be unnecessarily daunting.  In the article below we answer the common questions we hear from patients regarding the colposcopy procedure.

Should I be worried?
No, an abnormal smear result means that the test has done it’s job and detected some some cell changes that need to be looked at further using a special device called a colposcope.  Almost always these changes are minor problems (pre-cancerous changes) and not anything serious (such as cervical cancer).  A colposcopy is done as an outpatient procedure and takes only 3-5 minutes.

Is it painful?
No, it is very similar experience to a smear test which some women find uncomfortable not painful.  There is actually a lot you can do to make a smear test more comfortable, click here for a blog which contains tips for a better smear test experience.

I have my period, should I cancel my appointment?
There is no need for cancelling a new colposcopy appointment or treatment appointment as a period will not interfere with the colposcopy assessment. However, if a smear is also required (as in a follow up colposcopy appointment), then it may be better to avoid it during a period.

I have a coil, can I still have a colposcopy?
Yes, absolutely, the coil will not affect the colposcopy.

After my colposcopy is there anything I can’t do?
No, you can carry on as normal, you can go on holiday, swim, go to the gym, shower & bathe all as normal.  All we need is to see you again within 1-2 weeks to explain the findings and arrange any treatment if necessary.

I am pregnant can I still have a colposcopy?
Yes you can depending on the stage of the pregnancy.  We may prefer to see you after you have completed your first trimester so if you are pregnant and need a colposcopy please inform our secretary at time of booking who will advise you accordingly.

Is there anything I need to do before my colposcopy?
No, you don’t need to do anything specific, you can eat and drink as normal and we recommend you have a little something beforehand if your appointment is first thing in the morning.

Should I bring a friend / partner?
There is no requirement to bring anyone with you to your appointment but if you are feeling nervous or find smear tests unpleasant it might be advisable to bring a close friend / partner as we never underestimate the power of someone holding your hand.

We have daily colposcopy clinics and practice from The Portland Hospital and HCA Outpatients at The Shard, if you need a colposcopy, call our 24 hour line on 0207 10 11 700 to book.