Pelvic Exam

1 What is a Pelvic Exam?

A pelvic exam is physical examination of the certain organs in a woman’s body:

  • Vulva
  • Cervix
  • Uterus
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Ovaries
  • Bladder
  • Rectum

It can be performed as a yearly physical exam when the doctor is checking for an infection, when a woman is having pain in her pelvic area or low back and when a woman is pregnant.

Before the exam, sometimes a urine sample is requested. A doctor or a nurse will ask a woman to take off her clothes and a gown or other covering will be given to her. Then, a doctor will discuss with women about any health concerns.

During the exam, a woman will lie on her back on an examining table with the feet elevated in stirrups. The doctor will insert a device called a speculum into the vagina and opened to the vagina and cervix can be seen.

Then a Pap smear will be performed and with the use of a plastic spatula and small cervical brush the doctor will take a small sample of cells from the cervix.

Then a doctor will remove the speculum and perform bimanual exam by inserting two fingers on one hand inside the vaginal canal and with the hand on top of the abdomen to feel the organs. Also, sometimes a rectal exam is performed.

During the exam, a woman can expect to feel a little discomfort, but she should not feel pain.

American Cancer Society suggests that women should begin with having yearly pelvic exams within three years of becoming sexually active or at the age of 21, whichever comes first.

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