Can a colposcopy exam be done if a woman is having her period?

A Colposcopy is an Examination of the Cervix

Doctor obtaining cervical smear
A doctor examines a female patient. ADAM GAULT/SPL/Getty Images

Question:  Can a colposcopy exam be done if a woman is having her menstrual period?

My doctor scheduled me for a colposcopy exam in three weeks. I now realize that I will probably be having my menstrual period at that time. Should I reschedule or can the doctor do a colposcopy while I am having my period?

Answer: 

A colposcopy is an examination of the cervix with a special magnifying device known as a colposcope.

The colposcope shines a light into the vagina and onto the cervix so that the area can be seen with an enlarged view.

The colposcopy should not be done during a heavy period. If you are at the very end of your cycle or at the beginning of your regular period you should keep your appointment.

I suggest that you call the doctor's office, where you will be having the exam, and let them know that you will most likely be menstruating at the time of the exam. This way they can let you know if you should reschedule your appointment to a day when you aren't menstruating.

There is no special preparation for the colposcopy but you need to make sure that for 24 hours before the procedure you do not douche, use tampons, engage in sexual intercourse, or use vaginal medications.

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