A pelvic examination is a complete physical exam of a woman’s reproductive organs by a health professional. It is an important part of preventive health care for all women. It is easy to have and takes a few minutes. A pelvic exam usually is done as a part of woman’s regular check up and it protects against cervical, uterine and ovarian cancers, infections and sexually transmitted diseases, and infertility. This exam promotes healthy pregnancy and childbirth. It is an important part of preventive health care for all women.
When Should I Have My First Pelvic Exam?
In most cases, you will need to start with your pelvic exams after you have begun to have sex or when you have turned 18, which ever comes first. Also, you might need a pelvic exam if you have very painful cramps or unusual vaginal discharge.
How often should I have a Pelvic Exam?
You should have a pelvic exam once year.
What happens during my Pelvic Exam?
A Pelvic exam consists of two parts: the speculum exam and a bimanual exam.
First you lie on your back, feet in the stirrups and the doctor will use the speculum to hold the vaginal walls apart. The speculum might be metal or plastic and comes in different sizes. The doctor will than insert the closed speculum in your vagina and will open it. This might feel uncomfortable but it should not hurt. Doctor will look through the speculum to look at your cervix, which is the bottom of your uterus. Using a special brush, your doctor will collect some cells from your cervix to test them for certain changes. That’s called a Pap smear, it might feel funny for a minute. The doctor might take a sample of your vaginal discharge to test for infection.
With the bimanual exam, your doctor will insert two fingers into your vagina after applying lubricating jelly, and will put the other hand on top of your belly to feel/check your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.