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:
- Your cervix appears normal and healthy. You will be advised that it is safe to return to the routine smear test programme, either 3 or 5 yearly dependant on your age.
- Your colposcopist might see some very minor changes and will offer to take some biopsies. These are tiny pinches of skin that are sent to the laboratory for analysis. You will be offered a local anaesthetic for this. Your colposcopist will write to you and your GP with the results and advice on what to do next.
- Your colposcopist might see some more severe changes and advise you to have them treated. The treatment is called Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone (LLETZ). This can be done straightaway or on another day – it is up to you. You will be offered a local anaesthetic for this.
- Your colposcopist might see some more severe changes and advise you to have them treated under a general anaesthetic (asleep in the operating theatre). This does not mean the problem is more serious. The abnormal area may be deeper into the cervix or require a bigger biopsy called a cone biopsy. This is very unusual.
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.
Can you have a colposcopy during your period?
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.
I have a holiday booked – should I delay my appointment?
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.
My smear test result was abnormal – do I have cancer?
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.
What is HPV and how have I caught it?
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.
Will colposcopy hurt?
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.
Colposcopy Clinic Team
- Mr Kumar Muthukumarappan - Lead Colposcopist and Consultant Gynaecologist/Obstetrician
- Mr Sunil Hanwella - Associate Specialist in Gynaecology
- Miss Darly Mathew - Consultant Gynaecologist/Obstetrician
- Miss Santhi Chidambaram - Consultant Gynaecologist/Obstetrician
- Helen Hawkins - Trainee Nurse Colposcopist/Lead Colposcopy Nurse
- Caroline Cook - Deputy Colposcopy Nurse
- Rita Swain - Colposcopy Clinical Administrator
- Jo Wau - Colposcopy Clinic Coordinator
- Jyothi Rao - Hospital-based Coordinator for Cervical Screening Programme and Consultant Pathologist