A speculum examination and a bimanual pelvic examination are often done together. These examinations are used to evaluate the overall health of a woman's reproductive organs.
For these tests, the woman lies on her back on an examination table with her legs parted and her feet resting off to the side in devices called stirrups.
For the speculum examination, the health professional inserts an instrument called a speculum into the woman's vagina. The speculum helps to spread apart the walls of the vagina, allowing the health professional to see the cervix and the walls of the vagina. Samples of tissue may also be collected for testing.
A bimanual pelvic examination often follows the speculum examination. It is done to check a woman's pelvic organs (such as the uterus and ovaries). The speculum is removed and the health professional inserts two gloved, lubricated fingers into the woman's vagina while pressing on her abdomen with the other hand (bimanual means with two hands). This allows the health professional to feel where and how large the woman's pelvic organs are. The woman can tell the health professional if it hurts when her organs are touched or moved.
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise