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You probably won't have any problems after your colposcopy and biopsy. If your results show any problems, your doctor might suggest more tests or treatment.

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What do I need to do after my colposcopy procedure?

After you have a colposcopy, your vagina may feel a little sore for a couple of days. If you had a biopsy, you may also have spotting or dark-colored vaginal discharge. Use a pad, panty-liner, or tampon — unless your doctor or nurse tells you not to use tampons.

Here are some other things to keep in mind after your colposcopy and biopsy:

  • You can shower or bathe as soon as you want.

  • If you didn’t have a biopsy, you can have vaginal sex whenever you want.

  • If you did have a biopsy, wait about 3 days to have vaginal sex. This lets your cervix heal.

  • If you take any medications, continue taking them as usual — including your birth control.

What are the risks of a colposcopy and biopsy?

It isn’t common to have problems after a colposcopy and biopsy. Rare risks include bleeding or an infection that needs treatment.

Call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • bleeding that's heavier than spotting — unless you think it's your period

  • fever or chills

  • heavy, yellow-colored, or bad-smelling discharge from your vagina

  • severe pain in the lower part of your belly

If You’re Pregnant

It’s safe to get a colposcopy procedure while you’re pregnant. Getting a biopsy while you’re pregnant is pretty low-risk, but your doctor may want to delay it until after you have your baby. Pregnant people may have more bleeding after a biopsy than people who aren’t  pregnant. This is because the cervix has an increased blood supply during pregnancy.

And don’t worry: getting a colposcopy and a biopsy won’t affect your ability to have children in the future.

What if my colposcopy results aren’t normal?

If your doctor or nurse finds abnormal cells, you might not need to do anything right away. Sometimes, you'll need more tests or treatments. It depends on how abnormal your cervical cells are.

Your doctor or nurse may recommend waiting to see if the cells heal themselves. In this case, you’ll have another Pap test and maybe other tests to watch the cells.

Sometimes, your biopsy is also your treatment. That’s because your doctor may be able to remove all of your abnormal cells during the biopsy. If so, you won’t need any more treatment. You’ll go back to having regular pelvic exams, Pap tests, and/or HPV tests. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how often you need to have these.

Or you might also need further treatment. There are 4 procedures that are very good at removing the abnormal cells and preventing cervical cancer.

  • Cryotherapy: abnormal cells are frozen off

  • LEEP: abnormal cells are removed using a thin wire loop that carries an electrical current

  • Laser: abnormal cells are removed using a laser

  • Cone biopsy: a cone-shaped wedge is cut out of your cervix to remove the abnormal cells

No matter what treatment you get, it’s important to continue getting regular pelvic exams after you’ve been treated for abnormal cells. Even though these procedures are very effective, sometimes abnormal cells come back.

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