Welcome to the latest installment of “Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does,” a series on Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s blog that highlights Planned Parenthood’s diverse array of services — the ones Jon Kyl doesn’t know about.
When talking about Pap tests — particularly when discussing abnormal Pap results — one procedure that comes up a lot is the colposcopy.
It can sound intimidating and clinical on its own. And if you’re anything like me, you may have — ahem — occasionally confused it with the significantly more internal colonoscopy. For the sake of everyone’s anxiety levels, it may be best to set the record straight.
What is a colposcopy, and what should you expect from the procedure?
Why am I getting a colposcopy?
The most common reason for undergoing a colposcopy is having an abnormal Pap test result, particularly one that, when tested for DNA of human papillomavirus, yielded a positive result. Effectively, there are some abnormal cervical cells with HPV present. Because this could potentially progress to cervical cancer down the line, this combination makes health care providers want to get a closer look at what’s going on.
That said, colposcopies are sometimes performed for other reasons, such as genital warts on the cervix, cervicitis (inflamed cervix), or benign cervical polyps. Continue reading