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Pain and Bleeding After a Colposcopy: Causes and Treatments

Kitty is a registered nurse. She uses what she has learned on the job to inspire and encourage others to take control of their health.


I had a colposcopy and it was painful...

If you have recently had a colposcopy and found it to be quite painful, you are not alone. You may have visited your gynecologist's office not knowing what to expect with this procedure, and then left his/her office in pain and humiliation. Believe it or not, colposcopies are actually quite common. My gynecologist's office does at least twelve colposcopies every day of the week. So just think...that's eleven other women who went through the exact same experience as you in just one office!

So now you are in pain and possibly bleeding, and you want to know why and how to treat it. In this article, I will give you some potential causes for the pain and bleeding and some simple ways to ease the pain.

Please Note: I am not a doctor. If you have intense bleeding or pain rated at 10 on a scale of 0 to 10 (zero being no pain, ten being the worst pain) please contact your doctor immediately. If you experience intense bleeding, please contact your doctor immediately. If your pain lasts more than 24 hrs, contact your doctor.

Causes for Pain & Bleeding After Colposcopy

Not everyone who has a colposcopy will experience pain and/or bleeding. It really depends on the person and the extent of the biopsies done during the colposcopy. Your doctor could take one small biopsy or three, it just depends on how many spots he/she sees during the procedure. Many believe the pain stems from where the biopsies are taken, i.e. if the biopsy is taken from a spot on your cervix where there is a nerve ending, then there will obviously be more pain afterwards. Keep in mind too the procedure that is being done is not necessarily a gentle procedure. Some women are more sensitive to foreign objects in their systems than others. No one wants to have this procedure done, but some women may find it more painful or invasive than others.

In addition to the biopsy and the instruments that are used during the colposcopy that could have caused your pain, think about the fluid that they use in order to see any spots on your cervix. This fluid is called Lugol's iodine, and when not diluted is said to be an irritant to many people's tissue linings. If you are allergic to iodine, please let your doctor know beforehand.

Just picture someone using vinegar or salty water as a douche. This is sort of how this fluid feels during a colposcopy and especially afterwards. Many women experience a burning sensation for up to 24 hours after the colposcopy, most likely due to the irritating effects of the iodine used during the procedure. Pain and burning should subside approximately 24 hours following the procedure. If it doesn't it might be best to contact your doctor's office.

Bleeding after colposcopy is also another common happening, and is most likely due to the small section(s) of tissue removed during biopsy. Heavy bleeding should not be present, but spotting is normal. Do not confuse the discharged iodine fluid with cervical blood, you will know the difference because the iodine fluid is a dark-orange color not bright or dark red. If you have heavy bleeding following a colposcopy, contact your doctor immediately.

Simple At-Home Treatments for Relief

Directly following a colposcopy, pain and burning are common and can be relieved at home with simple methods.

1. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting undergarments and pants.

Why is it important to wear loose-fitting underpants and pants after a colposcopy? You don't want clothing or anything rubbing against your female parts, as it will only further irritate the pain and bleeding you might be experiencing. Comfort is a key component to relieving pain in this circumstance.

2. Drink plenty of water.

Water is good for helping to flush out any fluids that may have entered your urethra during colposcopy, and for some reason makes urinating following this procedure a lot less uncomfortable or painful.

3. Take a small dose of aspirin or tylenol to relieve pain.

A normal dose of aspirin or acetominophen may sometimes be necessary to relieve pain after colposcopy. Do not feel guilty for having to take something for relief.

4. At night place a soft pillow between your knees.

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I am not quite sure why this helps to relieve pain after colposcopy, but it does. Maybe it is similar to when you have a stomach-ache and the pressure of laying on your stomach somehow relieves the pain. The same goes for heart-surgery patients; nurses will teach heart surgery patients to hug a pillow or stuffed animal to help relieve the pain following surgery.

5. If there is bleeding or discharge, use a sanitary pad or panty-liner.

Do not use a tampon as this could irritate the biopsy and inner lining even more. Sanitary pads or panty-liners will keep your comfortable following a colposcopy.

Written and copyright © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2012. All Rights Reserved.


Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 14, 2012:

Hey, Nell. Thanks and you're right, a lot of women go through it.

Nell Rose from England on October 14, 2012:

Hi kitty, great information. So many women have this 'op' as they call it, and it is an operation of sorts. Soreness can be a real pain, excuse the pun! so this is really helpful, voted up! nell

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 12, 2012:

Oh, I see. I hope everything turns out alright for you. I do so enjoy your hubs and wait patiently for the next one. Wishing you well.

Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 12, 2012:

flashmakeit - Thank you, that's very sweet. I'm just fine, don't worry about me!

phoenix - A colposcopy is done when a woman has abnormal cells on her cervix. It is used to detect whether cervical cancer is present and at what stage.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 11, 2012:

Oh, this sounds awful. Just one thing though: what is a colposcopy and why would a woman need this?

flashmakeit from usa on October 11, 2012:

Kittythedreamer I hope you will be back to normal soon and I will pray for you because you are my favorite writer and a lovely person. This article is useful for anyone else who is going to have a that procedure.

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