What is colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a method used to examine possible anomalies of the neck of the uterus and is primarily executed to prevent and diagnose cervical cancer early. It is also useful to investigate pelvic pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding (for example after sexual intercourse). In addition, it is useful to execute a colposcopy in case of abnormal Pap test, of the suspect of infection from sexually transmitted diseases, or after the identification of lesions, polyps or irregularities of the cervix or of the vagina.
How is colposcopy done?
During colposcopy, the vagina is dilated through the use of a special device called speculum. The gynaecologist uses an optical tool called colposcope that is not inserted into the vagina, which allows to examine the uterine cervix at extremely high magnification (from 6 to 40 times). The doctor can apply reactive liquids (acetic acid 5% or iodate solutions) to visualise the presence of abnormal cells. During the examination it is possible to collect sample tissue where the abnormal cells are in order to execute a biopsy or to remove abnormal cells directly through electroescission. It is a risk-free exam and is not painful but if reactive liquids are used or if a biopsy is executed, slight discomfort or stinging is possible. Colposcopy cannot be executed during the menstrual period or in case of a strong vulvo-vaginal inflammation; it is also appropriate to abstain from sex and from using creams, ovules or washes in the hours before the examination.
What is hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy consists in the visualisation of the uterine cavity thanks to the use of an optical tool, the hysteroscope, connected to a camera and inserted through the cervical canal. In this way it is possible to identify pathologies such as fibroids, uterine polyps and uterine neoplasms. Hysteroscopy is also useful in case of abnormal uterine bleeding to assess its causes.
During the examination, biopsy is possible and is executed by collecting cells from the uterine cervix for further analysis.