Healing From Colposcopy: Learn How to Shorten the Recovery Time

A colposcopy is a simple procedure that involves the use of a specially designed microscope, known as a colposcope, to examine the cervix. It is conducted when problems of the vagina or cervix are found during a pelvic exam or when abnormal cells are discovered during a pap smear. It can also help find a cause to common problems, such as bleeding after intercourse and persistent vaginal discharge. Although it is considered to be a safe and simple procedure, minor complications can occur and healing from a colposcopy can be more difficult for some people.

Although the actual colposcopy procedure has very few side effects, they can occur. One of the most severe side effects of the procedure is an allergic reaction to the iodine used. Therefore, if you have an iodine allergy it’s essential to inform your doctor prior to the procedure. This procedure produces no risks to fertility.

Recovery

Most often, recovery from a colposcopy only requires a short period of rest, but if a biopsy was performed at the same time, the recovery process can vary. Recovery from a colposcopy with a biopsy can be as simple as a routine colposcopy if the biopsy was minor and there wasn’t any anesthesia used. However, depending on the type of biopsy and anesthesia used, recovery time may take longer. If general anesthesia was used, an observation period will be conducted to ensure vitals are normal prior to allowing you to go home.

Many women experience vaginal bleeding after a colposcopy. It is also normal to experience spotting or a black colored discharge for several days after the procedure. If you do experience bleeding, spotting or vaginal discharge, use sanitary napkins instead of tampons. It is also recommended to avoid douching and intercourse for at least five days after the procedure. Mild cramping can occur following a colposcopy and this is considered normal. You can help relieve the cramping by using a heating pad or taking over-the-counter pain relievers. However, you will want to avoid aspirin because it can make the bleeding worse.

It’s advised to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for several days to lessen the side effects of the procedure. A change of diet isn’t needed after a colposcopy. A follow up appointment may be needed, especially if a biopsy was performed.

Red Flags

When healing from a colposcopy, there are certain red flags that can occur that will alert you to call your physician. If vaginal bleeding is persistent or becomes heavy, notify your physician. A foul smelling discharge from the vagina is a red flag as well. If you experience a fever, chills, lower abdominal pain or pelvic pain, call your physician immediately.

References:

"Colposcopy Aftercare" https://www.surgery.com/procedure/colposcopy/aftercare

"Colposcopy" https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/content/content.asp?pageid=P07770

"Colposcopy" https://www.colposcopy.co.uk/colposcopy.htm