What is a colposcopy and cervical biopsy?

I have had several, so let me walk you through it. You lie down on the exam table like you do for a Pap smear. The doctor will take what looks like a huge magnifying glass and look through it at your cervix. The doctor will apply an acetic acid solution to your cervix to make any abnormal tissue turn white. Then the doctor will take an instrument and literally pinch off some of the abnormal-looking tissue to send to the lab for examination. When they take those "pinches," it feels like a really bad cramp. For that reason, some doctors recommend taking some ibuprofen before you come in for the exam. The colposcope is that huge magnifying glass that they use to look at your cervix, so that, by itself, is painless. The biopsy is not comfortable, but it's not seriously painful either.

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