For sexually active women, a pelvic examination is vital. It determines the reproductive and sexual health of a woman and also helps identify infections and cancer early on their onset. Doctors recommend that women have their first pelvic exam at 21. The exam includes physical and visual analysis of the reproductive organs. The vagina, ovaries, uterus, vulva, cervix, and fallopian tubes all get checked. Like any other medical procedure, a pelvic exam may be scary when taking it for the first time. Here are things to expect.
External Visual Inspection
Once you have changed into a robe, the doctor will have you lie down while resting your feet on stirrups. They will then inspect your vulva and vagina for any visible signs of a problem such as sores, cysts, discharge, redness, or irritation.
After the visual exam, the doctor will check your internal reproductive organs. She will use a vaginal speculum to help her conduct the inspection. This part of the process may be a bit uncomfortable, and the tool may feel cold during insertion. It is, however, not painful, and the discomfort will go away in no time.
Pap Smear Test
When doing the speculum exam, the doctor will extract cells in a process referred to as a pap smear. These cells are then examined to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases and cancer.
To identify if there are some irregularities in your uterus, the doctor will use his hands to do a manual exam. Normally, two fingers from one hand will explore the internal organs, while the other hand will be on the abdomen. It helps establish the size of the uterus, identify abnormalities on the fallopian tubes, and even check for pregnancy.
Once your doctor is done with the pelvic exam, she will discuss the findings with you and explain when to pick results that are not available immediately. You can then take whatever necessary action your doctor recommends.