Colposcopy

A colposcopy is a medical examination used to view the cervix and examine lesions on the vaginal walls with a colposcope (magnifying optical device). During the examination, the physician may also take tissue samples for analysis, and this is called a biopsy.

  • A colposcopy is usually performed after abnormal or unclear PAP test results or when lesions are detected. These findings may be caused by inflammation, vaginal infection, pre-cancer or cervical cancer.
  • A colposcopy allows the physician to see these lesions in detail and to determine their nature and severity.

How to access our services?

  • You must have a referral from your physician or another healthcare professional to get an appointment for this test.
  • The colposcopy is performed through the Gynecology Clinic.

About The Program

Before your appointment

  1. Your physician will fax us a request – please make sure that your contact information is accurate so we may call you.
  2. It may take a few weeks or up to a few months before we call you for an appointment, depending on the specialist’s availability.
  3. You will receive a reminder a few days before your appointment.
  4. Note: A colposcopy can be performed at any point in your menstrual cycle. However, if you are bleeding heavily on the day of your exam, contact the clinic to determine whether you should reschedule the appointment.

Preparation

  • You may eat and take your regular medication.
  • Avoid creams or other products near the vaginal area.
  • Bring a menstrual pad as the the biopsy may cause light vaginal bleeding.
  • Try to urinate prior to the exam.
  • Inform medical staff if you are taking blood thinners like Aspirin, Warfarine, Heparine, Clopidogrel or any other anticoagulant. These types of medication can cause increased bleeding in biopsy cases.
  • Notify medical staff if you are, or suspect you may be, pregnant. Colposcopy is safe for expectant mothers.

What to bring

  • Valid Health Card
  • List of all your medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and herbal medicines

When you arrive

  • Please use the Main Entrance and register at one of the self-serve kiosks at least 20 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Clerks are available to help with the registration process.
  • Upon registering, take a “puck”. It will buzz and light up when your turn comes up and indicate in which room to report.
  • Room numbers and other public interest messages are presented on the TV screens.

Procedure

The examination procedure lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. No anesthetic is required.

  • You will be lying on an exam table in the same position used for PAP tests or any other gynecological exam.
  • An instrument called a “speculum” is used to separate the vagina walls, allowing the doctor to see your cervix with a colposcope. The colposcope looks like a microscope and does not come in contact with your body.
  • A vinegar-like acetylic solution is applied in the cervical area. It makes the affected areas more visible and the lesions easier for the health professional to see.
  • If a biopsy is necessary, the gynecologist will remove tissue samples to be sent to the laboratory for analysis. You will feel a slight pinching sensation for a second or two.

After the exam

  • Most women can resume their usual activities immediately after the colposcopy.
  • Follow-up tests (colposcopy and second PAP test) are often recommended within six to twelve months of the procedure, depending on the results.
  • If you had a biopsy:
    • You may experience cramping or pain; however, it should subside within a few hours.
    • You may experience vaginal discharge or bleeding for a few days.
    • You should refrain from sexual intercourse or from inserting anything in your vagina (tampons, creams or others) for at least 48 hours.
    • You should avoid intense exercise for 24 to 48 hours.

Warning signs

After the colposcopy, contact your family physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Vaginal bleeding for more than 7 days.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Continuous pelvic pain or cramps even after taking ibuprofen (like Advil).
  • A temperature of 38°C (100.4°F).
  • Report to the emergency room if you experience very heavy vaginal bleeding for several consecutive hours.

Test results

  • The specialist will send a report to your physician.
  • Results will also be available in your electronic medical record. For information on the creation of an account and how to access your electronic medical record, visit MyChart.

Business hours

Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (except public holidays)

Telephone

613-632-1111, option 1 (Appointment), then option 1 (Ambulatory Clinics)
Toll-free: 1-800-790-8870, option 1

Fax

613-636-6175

Address

HGH – Main Campus
1111 Ghislain Street
Hawkesbury, ON K6A 3G5

The Gynecology Clinic is part of the Ambulatory Clinics located in Block B, level 1. View the hospital plan.

Resources and links

  • For more information about Women’s Health Programs, visit The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
  • For credible and up-to-date sexual health information for teens, adults, parents, teachers, and health care providers, visit SexandU.ca.
  • For the latest information on the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) aimed at teens, adults, parents, teachers, and health care providers, visit HPVinfo.ca. Spread the word, not the disease.
  • To learn more about menstruation, from your first period through to menopause; abnormal pain and bleeding; endometriosis; fibroids, and other related conditions, visit YourPeriod.ca. This site provides up-to-date, expert information for women.
  • For information on contraception options available and to help you and your care provider determine the method that’s best for you, visit ItsaPlan.ca.
  • For information on how to take hormonal contraception after a missed or extended dose, visit SOS (Stay on Schedule).
  • For evidence-based information on pregnancy and childbirth, starting with factors affecting fertility to considerations after delivery, visit PregnancyInfo.ca.
  • Every woman experiences menopause differently. For information about menopause symptoms and treatment options, visit MenopauseandU.ca.

Refer a patient for a colposcopy at HGH Gynecology Clinic

Medical specialists

(currently not accepting patients)

Referral Form

To refer a patient, download the Consultation Request Form, fill it out and fax it to 613-636-6175.

Appointment booking line: 1-800-790-8870, extension 82500