01246 277 271
The Colposcopy Clinic is situated within the Women’s Health Unit of Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Colposcopy is a more detailed look at the cervix (neck of the womb) using a special microscope (a colposcope). The colposcope stays outside of your body. The colposcopist will apply some different fluids to your cervix that help to show any abnormal cells.
The usual reason for having a colposcopy is an abnormal smear test result. A colposcopy is also used to investigate unexplained pelvic pain, an unusual looking cervix or vaginal bleeding.
Referrals to our Colposcopy Clinic are usually made by the cytology laboratory, GPs or gynaecologists.
There are approximately 19 colposcopy clinics held each month. Appointments are 30 minutes long. You are very welcome to bring a friend or relative for support, but an experienced nurse will be with you at all times and will answer any concerns you may have.
If you wish to change or are unable to keep an appointment for any reason, please phone the Women’s Health Unit as soon as possible so that your appointment can be offered to another patient (01246 512464). We automatically discharge and refer patients back to their GP if they fail to attend the first appointment.
There are 4 possible things that might happen during your colposcopy appointment:
We also hold a smear test clinic on the last Monday afternoon of the month. This is for women who have been unable to have an adequate smear test sample taken at their GP surgery.
If your blood loss is heavy, it could be difficult for the colposcopist to fully and accurately examine your cervix. A light flow should not be a problem. Always call the Women’s Health Unit to discuss before cancelling or rearranging.
If you are planning on going abroad soon after your appointment, please advise the colposcopist on the day of your appointment. We will not perform certain treatments or biopsies, as we would normally suggest that you do not travel abroad for at least two weeks following treatment. This is because of the risk of bleeding and other complications. We would still be able to carry out your colposcopy however.
A smear test is not a test to find cancer. It is a screening test to detect changes to the cells of the cervix. None of these changes mean that you have cancer, but if left untreated, the abnormal cells are at risk of developing into cancer over a long period of time in the future. About one in 12 smear tests come back as abnormal.
Almost all cervical cell changes are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is as common as a cold – 80% of adults will develop HPV in their lifetime. That includes men too. If you are sexually active, you can get HPV, no matter what type of sex you have. It is impossible to tell how long you have had HPV or from whom you caught it. There is no treatment for HPV, but most strains are harmless and disappear by themselves. HPV infection isn’t cancer, but it can cause changes in the body that lead to cancer. Smear tests can spot these changes in your cervix while they are still in an early stage. Treatment can be given before they become cancerous.
Colposcopy should be no more uncomfortable than a smear test. You will be offered local anaesthetic for any biopsy or treatment. This is an injection that might sting, but will make your cervix numb. If you have a biopsy or treatment, you may experience period-like cramps for up to 2 days.
British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology
National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust