The intimate health of women is of the utmost importance to ensure a healthy sex life and satisfactory health. However, within various care and exams there is one with a very peculiar name and that causes doubts about what it is: vulvoscopy.
What is Vulvoscopy?
Vulvoscopy is an examination of the skin surface of the vulva , perineum, lips and vaginal opening (the visible external part of the female genitalia). A special microscope called a colposcope is used to view the area.
This device allows an increase of 10 to 40 times the normal size . The examination is carried out in the doctor’s office where the patient remains at the examination table. In general, it is performed to complement Colposcopy, which is the exam where the cervix is visualized.
Why is the Increase Important?
The images obtained are enlarged allowing the specialist to observe possible cellular changes in the vulva that are impossible to see with the naked eye. Vulvoscopy can be recommended if the patient has:
- Pain in the vulva
- Any visible abnormality, such as lesions or skin lightening
- Pain in the vulva during intercourse
How Vulvoscopy is Performed
During vulvoscopy, reagents such as acetic acid, toluidine blue or iodine solution are used so that the areas to be examined are more easily visualized. Vulvoscopy does not cause pain.
When the Exam is Requested
This test is especially indicated for women who have had a change in Pap smear or for those who during the gynecological examination noticed changes such as vaginitis and vulvovaginitis . It is also indicated for women with suspected HPV, in which case a biopsy of the vulva is necessary .
What is a Biopsy Vulvoscopy?
If abnormal cells are detected during the examination, a small biopsy (tissue sample) will be taken under local anesthesia to be examined for abnormal cells.
Preparation for Vulvoscopy
Before performing a vulvoscopy it is recommended:
- Avoid any intimate contact 48 hours before the exam;
- Do not have your period during the exam.
- Do not introduce anything into the vagina, such as: vaginal medications, creams or tampons;
How the Procedure is Done
Before the vulvoscopy is performed, the specialist will give a brief explanation of the procedure. A small amount of tissue is removed from the vulva area.
This sample is sent to the laboratory for examination and if necessary, points in the area from which the tissue sample was taken can be given. The stitches will dissolve within approximately seven days.
Vulvoscopy takes about 20 to 30 minutes and is done under local anesthesia. After the procedure, it is necessary for the patient to remain in the recovery area where she is monitored until she has recovered completely.
Can There Be Any Complications or Risks?
As with any procedure, there can be complications. These can include bleeding and infection . It is advisable to keep the area clean and dry. If the patient sees any problems arising from the procedure, the doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
Is it a Painful Procedure?
Usually the woman receives a local anesthetic before the procedure. It is recommended that at discharge, if you feel any discomfort after the procedure, you can use pain relief medication.
h3> How is Recovery?
It is advisable to rest for a few days and refrain from working or exercising. Bleeding or discharge may occur for up to a week. If the patient has heavy bleeding or notes that the discharge is smelly, it is important to contact the doctor. Changing the pad frequently will help prevent infection. Sexual intercourse should be avoided until the area is completely healed.
A vulvoscopy will show whether treatment is needed or not. If treatment is necessary, this is usually done with local anesthesia at the clinic, since biopsy results are available. If the area is generalized or a laser treatment is necessary, this is done under general anesthesia with the patient admitted to a hospital.
When is Colposcopy Necessary?
Colposcopy is usually performed when abnormal cells were found during a smear test. This usually means that small changes exist in the cells of the cervix and, in many cases, these small changes return to normal on their own. Sometimes, the changes become worse and can lead to cancer in the future.
Colposcopy can be recommended if the patient has:
- An abnormality identified in the cervix
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Bleeding between cycles
- Persistent vaginal discharge
How is Colposcopy Performed?
Similar to Pap smear, a speculum is inserted into the vagina so that the opening of the cervix can be seen and is then seen using a colposcope.
If abnormal cells are detected, a small tissue sample will be taken from the cervix (biopsy) and then examined under a microscope. If the abnormal cells go further into the cervix, a cone biopsy may be necessary (that is, where a larger cone-shaped tissue sample is taken).
A colposcopy will show whether treatment is necessary or not. If treatment is necessary, this is usually done with local anesthesia at the clinic with diagnostic biopsies taken at the same time.
See also: Cervical Cancer – Clarifying Doubts
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.