Your appointment will be face-to-face.

How to get an appointment

If you have an abnormal cervical screening (smear) test you will automatically be referred to your local colposcopy department.

If you have not received a colposcopy appointment, please contact your GP to find out which hospital they have referred you to.

If you choose to go to a different hospital your GP can refer you.

If your GP or practice nurse is unable to do a cervical screening test they may refer you for a colposcopy. We have facilities that can make the test easier. We have a nurse-led cytology (testing) clinic on Mondays.

Changing or cancelling your appointment

Please contact us as soon as possible if you need to change or cancel your appointment. This will allow us to offer it to someone else and reschedule your appointment.

Please come to your appointment on time. If you arrive late, we will try to see you. However, if we cannot see you we'll have to reschedule your appointment. 

We recommend you download MyChart. This is our patient app that makes accessing your health records and seeing upcoming appointments easier.

Before your appointment

If you're having your period it is still possible to have a colposcopy examination.

Sometimes, if the bleeding is too heavy during the examination we may need to reschedule your appointment. We will arrange this for you.

If you are coming for a follow up cervical screening test we try to avoid doing this when you're having your period.

If you want to reschedule or do not want to have a colposcopy appointment during your period, please call us on 020 7188 3691.

It is safe to do a colposcopy during pregnancy.

If you need a colposcopy when you are pregnant we will suggest the best time to have it. This will depend on why you need the examination and your previous medical history.

Preparing for your appointment

  • It is safe to have intercourse before your appointment.
  • It is important to eat something before your appointment so you do not feel faint during or after the procedure.
  • You may feel more comfortable wearing a skirt or dark coloured clothing.
  • Please bring a sanitary pad or panty liner.

Please contact us if we can make any changes to support you during your appointment or help avoid any distressing situations. If you need a translator, please tell us what language you need. Cancer research UK website has information about cervical screening for trans men and/or non-binary people.

During your appointment

Please allow up to 1 hour for your appointment.

You will see a colposcopist or a trainee colposcopist. A trainee colposcopist will be supervised, depending on their experience. If you do not want trainees to be present, please let us know. We'll always respect your wishes and it will not affect your treatment in any way.

They will look at your cervix using magnifying binoculars called a colposcope.

For most people the examination is painless and takes 5 to 10 minutes.

For more information about having a colposcopy, please visit Cancer Research UK website.

If an abnormality is found, you may need treatment to remove the abnormal cells.

This procedure is also known as a large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ). For more information, please read our loop diathermy after a colposcopy page.

After your appointment

If you're waiting for results of a cervical screening test, cervical biopsy or LLETZ procedure you should hear from us within 4 weeks. If you have not heard from us after 4 weeks, please email [email protected].

You may have a follow-up appointment by telephone.

It is normal to have a small amount of light bleeding or brown discharge for 1 or 2 days. Some mild period-like cramping is also normal.

If you have a small biopsy from the cervix it is normal to have a small amount of bleeding and discharge for 3 to 4 days.

For 3 to 4 days after your biopsy, do not:

  • use tampons
  • go swimming
  • have sex

Some mild period-like cramping is also normal.

If you have a LLETZ it is normal to have some watery blood-stained discharge, or light bleeding for up to 4 weeks after the treatment. Please see our loop diathermy after a colposcopy page for more information.

If you have signs of an infection, such as offensive vaginal discharge, pain, high temperature (fever), please see your GP or call NHS 111.

Go to your nearest emergency department (A&E) if:

  • you have very heavy bleeding after your cervical biopsy or LLETZ

Last updated: June 2024

Contact us

For more information, please contact us.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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