What Are Side Effects of a Colposcopy?


Quick Answer

Some side effects of colposcopies include mild discomfort and cramping, discharge and bleeding, according to Mayo Clinic. Some women also experience some tenderness of the vulva following the procedure.

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A colposcopy typically takes about 20 minutes, notes Mayo Clinic. The procedure is similar to a pelvic exam, including beginning with using a speculum to open the walls of the vagina and see the cervix more clearly. The doctor uses a colposcope, which is a magnifying tool, to look more closely into the vagina. He collects a sample of any suspicious tissue and sends it to a lab for further testing.

During this procedure, it is common to feel some discomfort from gathering the tissue samples, says Mayo Clinic. The type of discomfort depends on what tissue the doctor is removing. Tissue collected from the vulva area tends to cause more pain since it is more sensitive in this area. Other parts of the vagina aren’t too sensitive. Cervical biopsies also produce some mild discomfort.

Mild bleeding may occur after collecting the tissue sample, which is the other common side effect of the colposcopy. The light bleeding can occur for a day or so, though this varies. A dark discharge may also come from the vagina for the same period of time.

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