Vaginal Discharge After Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy

What To Expect After This Medical Procedure

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Two days ago I had a colposcopy because my Pap smear results came back abnormal. To be on the safe side, my doctor recommended I have a colposcopy and a cervical biopsy.

I was warned by my doctor of the possibility of a dark vaginal discharge, but I am experiencing something much worse. At times, the discharge is black and clumpy. I have passed what appears to be flesh-colored tissue that has dried blood in it.

Should I call my doctor? Did something go wrong with my biopsy? I fear I am losing my cervix or tissue from the vaginal wall.

What To Expect After Your Colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a medical procedure performed to examine the cervix more closely. A vinegar solution is applied to the cervix, which makes abnormal cells turn white. A cervical biopsy is a procedure undertaken to remove tissue from the cervix for the purpose of testing for abnormal or precancerous conditions, or for cervical cancer.

An unpleasant discharge after a colposcopy and cervical biopsy procedure is to be expected. As for what it might look like, the appearance of the vaginal discharge varies from woman to woman. Some women only need a panty liner after the procedure, while others need to use a sanitary napkin. Color, smell, and consistency of the discharge also can vary.

A very dark discharge is also completely normal. It can often look black, dark brown, or even dark red, and have a grainy consistency, much like coffee grounds.

You may also experience a more unsightly discharge that looks a lot like raw chicken skin or human tissue, with blood mixed in. Again, this is normal after having a colposcopy.

Some women have even erroneously assumed they were pregnant and had a miscarriage because of how the discharge looked. These are common misconceptions, so do no worry if you felt this way.

What Causes This Abnormal Discharge?

The cause of the dark and skin-toned discharge is a paste called Monsel's Solution, which is applied to the cervix to stop bleeding after a biopsy. It has the consistency of toothpaste and is mustard-colored. When it is expelled from the vagina, it can become black and grainy. It may also appear yellow or skin-toned and, because of its thickness, look like human tissue.

It is also common for the discharge to have an acidic or vinegary smell. During the colposcopy, your doctor applied a vinegar solution to your cervix to help identify any abnormal tissue. It should go away in a day or two. If it does not go away, becomes worse, or smells infectious or foul, contact your doctor immediately, as it may be a sign of infection.

Are There Any Signs That Should Be Cause for Concern?

You should also call your doctor if you experience:

  • heavy bleeding (bleeding through a sanitary pad every hour)
  • fever (100.4 degrees or higher)
  • chills or shakes
  • spotting/vaginal bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
  • severe cramping or pain that is not relieved with over-the-counter pain medication, like Motrin or Advil (Ibuprofen)
  • bright red bleeding

The risk of infection and complications after a colposcopy and biopsy are relatively low, provided you follow your doctor's instructions for after care.

After a colposcopy and biopsy, most doctors recommend avoiding:

  • sex for a specific amount of time
  • tampons
  • douching
  • putting anything like creams or lubricants into the vagina

A Word From Verywell

As long as you follow your doctor's recommendations, this unsightly discharge should clear up in no time at all. Another tidbit is to not assume that your cervical biopsy results are normal if you do not hear back from your doctor. Be sure to follow up with a phone call for your test results, and when you need to return for a visit. 


American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (April 2015). Colposcopy

Feltmate CM, Feldman S. (April 2016). Patient education: Colposcopy (Beyond the Basics). In: UpToDate, Mann WJ (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA. 

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