Colposcopy & ECC (Endocervical curettage)

The following information is originally sourced from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) website. You can view this content from the original source here.

What is colposcopy?

Colposcopy is done when results of a pap smear show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix or the presence of HPV (human papilloma virus).

Colposcopy is a way of looking at the cervix through a special magnifying device called a colposcope. It shines a light into the vagina and onto the cervix. The colposcope enlarges the normal view and allows the health care provider to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. Colposcopy provides more information about the abnormal cells.

How is the procedure performed?

Colposcopy is done in the doctor’s office. The procedure is best done when a woman is not having her menstrual period. For at least 24 hours before the test, you should not douche, use tampons, use vaginal medications or have sex.

As with a pelvic exam, you will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on foot rests for support. A speculum will be used to hold apart the vaginal walls so that the inside of the vagina and the cervix can be seen. The colposcope is placed just outside the opening of your vagina.

A mild vinegar solution will be applied to your cervix and vagina with a cotton swab or cotton ball. This makes abnormal areas on the cervix easier to see.

When is a biopsy done during colposcopy?

During colposcopy, the health care provider may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas will be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the cervix using a special device.

Cells also may be taken from the canal of the cervix. A special device is used to collect the cells. This is called endocervical curettage (ECC).

What should I expect during recovery?

After you have a colposcopy procedure, your vagina may feel slightly sore for a couple of day. Over-the-counter pain medications can be helpful. You can take Ibuprofen 600-800mg orally 30mins prior to the procedure.

If you also have a biopsy, you may experience discomfort and cramping during the procedure. Afterwards, you may spot or have a dark colored vaginal discharge. You may need to wear a pad or panty liner until the discharge stops.

If a biopsy is not taken, you can resume sexual activity as soon as you like. If a biopsy is taken, you should wait about five days before having vaginal intercourse or inserting anything into the vagina. This allows the cervix time to heal.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these problems:
· Heavy vaginal bleeding (using more than one sanitary pad per hour)
· Severe lower abdominal pain
· Fever
· Chills

Please contact Pacific Women's OB/GYN Medical Group with questions or concerns.