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 you are having a yearly
exam, you may need to undress completely so your health professional can also
do a breast exam.
- Lie on your back on an exam table with your feet
raised and supported by stirrups. This allows the health professional to
urethra, vagina, and other reproductive organs . You
may want to wear socks to keep your feet warm while they are in the
- Have a drape across your body for privacy during the
test. The health professional may use a lamp during the test, and 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
During the external exam, the health
- 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 his or her gloved fingers for any
cysts or pus coming from the
- Gently insert the
speculum into your vagina . The speculum spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing
the inside of the vagina and the cervix to be examined. The speculum may be
plastic or metal and 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
If you are due for a Pap test, your health professional
will use a small brush or a wooden spatula to gently collect a sample of
cervical cells. You may have some staining or bleeding after the sample is
taken. A sample of the cervical mucus may also be obtained with a cotton swab
and tested for sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.
This exam is usually done as part of
a pelvic exam. Your health professional will insert one or two gloved fingers
of one hand into your vagina while placing the other hand on your lower
abdomen. By pressing down on the abdomen and moving the fingers around inside
your vagina, your health professional can locate and determine the size, shape,
and consistency of the uterus and ovaries. Any unusual growths, tenderness, or
pain can also be identified.
For this exam, your health
professional will insert one finger into your
rectum and one into your vagina. This helps your
health professional evaluate your ovaries and uterus ligaments. This exam is
not always done as part of a pelvic exam.
the exam is finished, you will be given a washcloth or tissue to wipe your
vaginal area to remove any discharge resulting from the exam. Then you will get dressed. Some test results may be available immediately, but results from the Pap
test may take from several days to a couple of weeks.