What Level of Discharge Is Normal After a Colposcopy?

What To Expect After This Medical Procedure

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Is It Normal to Have a Heavy Discharge After a Colposcopy?

Two days ago, I had a colposcopy because my Pap smear results came back abnormal. To be on the safe side side, my doctor recommended I have a colposcopy and a cervical biopsy. I am 26, have never been pregnant, and this is my first abnormal Pap smear. I was warned by my doctor of the possibility of a dark vaginal discharge, but I am experiencing something much worse and, frankly, disgusting. 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. Help!

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. And 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 also varies.

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, so don't worry that you're overreacting. These are common misconceptions.

What Causes This Abnormal Discharge?

The cause of the dark and skin-toned discharge is a paste called Monsels 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 pad every hour)
  • fever (100.4 degrees or higher)
  • chills or shakes
  • spotting/vaginal bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
  • severe cramping that is not relieved with over-the-counter pain medication
  • 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
  • heavy lifting (especially in the case of a cervical biopsy)
  • baths for the first 24 hours

As long as you follow your doctor's recommendations, this unsightly discharge should clear up in no time at all!

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