Specialized gynecological care involves treatment that’s beyond the standard screenings that happen at an annual exam, such as STI testing and birth control consultations. Such services include:
The advanced practice nurses may recommend you see the gynecologist for these procedures and screenings, or you may be referred by other doctors in the community.
Sometimes a Pap smear reveals abnormal cells that need further analysis. A colposcopy is a procedure involving a high-powered microscope that looks at the cervix, vagina, and vulva. The doctor places a speculum in the vagina and inserts the colposcope to view the cervix. She takes several biopsies, which may cause a pinching sensation for a moment or two. The biopsies are then sent to a lab for further review.
The doctor performs a LEEP, or loop electrosurgical excision procedure, to treat abnormal cells on your cervix. An electrical cutting wire removes the abnormal cells so they may be sent to a lab for further analysis.
With cryosurgery, the doctor uses a freezing technique to remove abnormal cells discovered during a Pap smear.
An endometrial biopsy describes a procedure in which a tissue sample is taken from the lining of the uterus and checked under a microscope for abnormalities. You might have an endometrial biopsy to:
During a uterine biopsy, the doctor places a speculum into the vagina and cleanses the cervix. She then places a small tube through the cervix into the uterine cavity, and a plunger on the tube creates suction that removes a sampling of cells.
A vulvar biopsy helps diagnose lesions of the vulvar skin, the external female genitalia. You might need a vulvar biopsy if you have pain, itching, or notice changes in the appearance and texture of the skin there.