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Women's Health

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Pelvic Examination

How It Is Done continued...

If you are due for a Pap test, the doctor or nurse will use a small brush or a wooden spatula to gently collect a sample of cells from your cervix. You may have some staining or bleeding after the sample is taken. A sample of the cervical mucus may also be collected with a cotton swab. The mucus may be tested for sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Bimanual exam

Your doctor or nurse will insert one or two gloved fingers of one hand into your vagina while placing the other hand on your lower belly. By pressing down on your belly and moving the fingers around inside your vagina, the doctor or nurse can find and feel the size, shape, and texture of the uterus and ovaries. Any unusual growths, tenderness, or pain can also be identified.

Rectovaginal exam

Your doctor or nurse will insert one finger into your rectum and one into your vagina. This helps the doctor or nurse evaluate your ovaries and uterus ligaments. This exam is not always done as part of a pelvic exam.

After the exam is finished, you will be given a washcloth or tissue to wipe your vaginal area to remove any discharge from the exam. Then you will get dressed. Some test results may be available right away. But getting results from the Pap test may take several days to a couple of weeks.

How It Feels

A pelvic exam is more comfortable if you are relaxed. Breathing deeply and having a light conversation with the doctor or nurse may help you relax. Try not to hold your breath or tense your muscles.

You may feel some pressure or mild discomfort when the speculum camera.gif is inserted into your vagina. Try to relax your legs and hips as much as you can. You may feel pain or irritation, especially if you have a vaginal infection. If a metal speculum is used, the metal may feel cold and hard. The speculum may be warmed with water or lubricated with a vaginal lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly, before being inserted.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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