Colposcopy and Vulval Disease

Main Address

Hours

  • Monday – Friday
    9am – 5pm
Colposcopy is a detailed examination of the cervix (neck of the womb). Like the smear it is a further screening test carried out as part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP) and done by a Colposcopist (specially trained Doctor or Nurse). A speculum is used, the same as when you had a smear test, and the colposcopist will look down a colposcope to examine the cervix. The colposcope basically magnifies the cervix, this doesn’t go inside the body.

General Enquiries

Nurses Adviceline 0207 288 3138

Appointments

0207 288 5118

Referral

Direct referral, choose and book, referral letter from GP

Contact

0207 288 3138

Useful resources

Further Information

Please call the adviceline above and talk to one of the Colposcopy nurses:
  • Anna Barbour - Nurse Colposcopist

Reasons for referral

Smear test results
 
An abnormal result is not unusual: about one in 20 women have test results that show some abnormality. An abnormal result usually means that small changes have been found in the cells on the cervix. In many cases these changes return to normal by themselves.

Sited NHS Cervical Screening : What your abnormal result means
 
It is important to attend for the colposcopy examination to look at these changes more closely and to see if treatment of these abnormal cells are needed.
 
Smear result grading which indicates a referral to the colposcopy clinics are:

  • 3 Inadequate
  • 1 Borderline Nuclear change in squamous cells and HR-HPV
  • 1 Borderline Nuclear change in Glandular cells
  • 1 Mild Dyskaryosis and HR-HPV / low grade dyskaryosis
  • 1 Moderate Dyskaryosis
  • 1 Severe Dyskaryosis
  • 1 Severe ?Invasion
  • 1 Glandular Neoplasia

Symptoms
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse once infection has been ruled out
  • Bleeding between periods

Examination

Your GP/ Nurse may refer you for colposcopy if your cervix looks abnormal or if you have a polyp (skin tag) on the cervix.
Referrals to Colposcopy are done directly from your abnormal smear result or via your GP/ Family Planning/ Sexual Health clinic.
 
The Colposcopy team at The Whittington Hospital
The team is made up of Colposcopy Doctors, Nurse Colposcopists, a Colposcopy Nurse, Trainee Colposcopists, the Colposcopy Co-ordinator, Colposcopy Administrators/receptionists and clinical care co-ordinators

The Colposcopy Visit
 
You will receive an appointment in the post including information leaflets about the colposcopy examination. If you are unable to attend for your appointment please contact us via the appointments line or you may be discharged from the clinic. If you would like, you can bring a friend or relative with you to the appointment. For step by step information on the colposcopy visit.

Taking a biopsy
 
If an area of abnormality is seen on the cervix the colposcopist may want to take some tiny biopsies of the area so a diagnosis can be made.

Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV)
 
It is likely that most of us who have ever been sexually active have had HPV at some point in our lives. There are thought to be more than 100 types of the virus that can effect the body. About 14 types or so, called high risk HPV types affect the genital area and it is these types that can cause changes in cervical cells. Most people will clear the virus within a few months and not be aware that they have come in contact with it. A small minority of women (10%) will not clear the virus and these women may then develop a cervical abnormality. Persistent infection with HPV can lead to cell changes which if left unmonitored or untreated, could develop into cervical cancer.

Colposcopy results
 
You will usually receive your results for all your tests carried out in the colposcopy clinic by post, 4-6 weeks after your appointment. If you haven’t heard from us after this time please contact either the Nurse Colposcopist or the Colposcopy Coordinator. Your GP will also get a copy of your results. If your colposcopy examination was normal and no samples were taken you may be booked for a further appointment or discharged back to your GP. You will still receive a letter informing you of the plan and what you need to do next. For further information on the results you may receive from your colposcopy examination.

Types of Treatment
 
Once you have had your colposcopy examination, you will be informed if any treatment is needed for the abnormal cells that have been picked up. There are different types of treatment performed depending on the abnormality.

Cervical cancer
 
Cervical cancer is a very rare complication of a very common viral infection.

Pregnancy and Colposcopy
 
If you are referred to Colposcopy and you are pregnant it is important that you attend so that your cervix can be assessed. Women with high grade abnormalities are monitored during pregnancy and it is unusual to treat high grade CIN until after delivery. There is no evidence that the changes progress during pregnancy. Colposcopy is safe to perform during pregnancy.
Working on it!