How To Prepare continued...
If you have had problems with pelvic exams before or
have experienced rape or sexual abuse, talk to your doctor or nurse about
your concerns or fears before the exam.
No other special
preparations are needed. For your own comfort, you
may want to empty your bladder first.
Talk to your
doctor or nurse about any concerns you have. To help you
understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
During a pelvic exam, you will:
- Take off your clothes below the waist. You will
have a paper or cloth covering around your waist. If it is your yearly
exam, you may need to undress completely so your doctor or nurse can also
check your breasts.
- Lie on your back on an exam table with your feet
raised and supported by stirrups. This allows the doctor or nurse to
look at your
urethra, vagina, and other reproductive organs .
- Have a drape across your body for privacy during the
test. The doctor or nurse may use a lamp during the test.
You can ask
for a mirror if you want to watch while the test is being done.
A female nurse or assistant may stay in the room with you
during the exam. You may also request the presence of your partner or a
A pelvic exam can involve three steps: the external exam, bimanual (two-handed) exam, and rectovaginal exam.
During the external exam, the doctor or nurse will:
- Check your vulva and the opening of your
vagina for signs of redness, irritation, discharge,
genital warts, and other abnormal conditions.
- Check inside your vagina with gloved fingers for any
cysts or pus coming from the
- Gently insert the
speculum into your vagina . The speculum spreads apart the vaginal walls. This lets the doctor or nurse see the inside of the vagina and the cervix. The speculum may be
plastic or metal. It may be warmed with water or lubricated with a vaginal
lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly).
- Check the walls of your vagina and
your cervix for damage, growths, inflammation, unusual discharge, or