Women's College Hospital

5th Floor, Gynecology Colposcopy Clinic, 76 Grenville Street, Toronto ON

Learn more about the Colposcopy Clinic at Women's College Hospital


Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 4:00pm​


Phone: 416 323 7744​​

What We Do

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Cancer & COVID

​The Colposcopy Clinic is dedicated to providing diagnosis, treatment and education for people with:

  • Abnormal Pap tests
  • Precancerous disorders of the cervix, vagina and vulva
  • Perianal lesions

At the Colposcopy Clinic, healthcare experts on your team work with you to ensure you get the best care possible.​​

About Your Appointment

​Someone will call you to give you a time for your first appointment at the Colposcopy Clinic, located at Women's College Hospital​. See the Colposcopy Clinic at Women's College Hospital​​ »

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What to Expect: Colposcopy

​​A colposcopy examination takes a closer look at the cervix. Your doctor likely referred you to the Colposcopy Clinic because the results of your Pap test were abnormal. A colposcopy can help identify abnormal changes to the cervix and can help your doctor know if further treatment is necessary.

Colposcopy is similar to a Pap test. The doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina. A speculum is a metal device that is used to separate the walls of the vagina and allow the doctor to examine your cervix.

The doctor will examine your cervix using a special magnifying instrument called a colposcope. The colposcope does not enter your body. The doctor applies a small amount of vinegar to the cervix with a cotton swab. The vinegar helps identify any abnormal cells that may be present.

If there are any abnormal cells, the doctor will take one or more small tissue samples (biopsies) through the colposcope. A sample from the canal of the cervix may also be required to identify the source of the abnormal cells. This is called an endocervical curettage, or ECC. As the tissue sample is removed, some women feel a sensation similar to menstrual cramps. This may be uncomfortable, but it usually doesn’t last long. Most women feel very little. The whole procedure takes only a few minutes.

Abnormal cells in the cervix are most often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is very common.

Treatment for Abnormal Cells of the Cervix

​Your need for treatment depends on a number of factors, such as how severe the cervical cell changes are, your age and whether your immune system is impaired. Your doctor or nurse will talk to you about your treatment options and side effects.

The two most common types of outpatient treatments at the Colposcopy Clinic are:

  • LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure). A wire loop is used to remove the surface tissue of the cervix, including the abnormal cells. 
  • Laser vaporization. An intense, narrow beam of light (laser beam) is used to vaporize the abnormal tissue.

Both procedures take about 20 minutes. A local anesthetic (freezing) is used to help prevent any pain or discomfort in the cervix.

Some women experience mild cramping during or immediately after the procedure. This usually doesn’t last long. After the treatment you may have some vaginal bleeding. This may not start for a few days and it may last 2 to 3 weeks. The bleeding may be only light spotting or it may be as heavy as a normal menstrual period.

After treatment:

  • Do not swim or lift anything heavy for 2 weeks.
  • Do not place anything into your vagina: do not use tampons, do not douche and do not have sexual intercourse for 3 weeks.
  • Once you are able to have intercourse, your partner should use a condom for the next 3 weeks. It is normal to have a slight discharge or bleeding when you resume intercourse.

Go to the nearest emergency department if:

  • You have bleeding that is heavier than a normal menstrual period (for example, if you need to change your sanitary pad more frequently than every 2 hours)
  • You have a fever, especially if you also have cramps in your lower abdomen and foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
Follow-up Appointments

Cervical Cancer Prevention

​​​​By making healthy lifestyle choices and getting checked regularly, you can reduce your risk of getting cervical cancer.

  • Get checked regularly. Have follow-up Pap tests regularly, as recommended by your doctor. 
  • Be a non-smoker. Smoking, and breathing second-hand smoke, can increase your risk of developing cervical cancer. Get help to quit from the Smokers’ Helpline.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. A healthy immune system can often clear human papillomavirus (HPV) and reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. A diet that is high in antioxidants can also reduce your risk. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables.
  • Use condoms and practice safe sex. Condoms can protect you from HPV and other sexually transmitted infections. 
  • Get the HPV vaccine. Talk to your doctor about whether the HPV vaccine is recommended for you.
​What Is a Pap Test?
What Is HPV?

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          Last reviewed: 9/14/2022
          Last modified: 1/23/2024 9:37 AM
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