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Vaginal Self-Examination (VSE)

How It Feels

Relax your pelvic and belly muscles as much as you can during the vaginal self-examination. You should have little or no discomfort from the examination, unless you have a vaginal infection or an open sore.

Risks

Normally, there are no problems from doing a vaginal self-examination.

Results

A vaginal self-examination is a way for a woman to look at her vulva camera.gif and vagina. You should tell your doctor about any problems you find.

Vaginal self-examination
Normal:

The vulva does not have sores or other growths, such as genital warts.

The vaginal walls are reddish pink and have folds or ridges. No sores or growths are present.

Normal discharge is clear and thin or white and creamy. The discharge does not have a bad odor, is not bloody, and does not look like curds (cottage cheese).

Abnormal:

Sores or rough, raised spots on the skin (such as genital warts) may be present. Redness and itching of the labia may mean an irritation (from feminine products or sexual activity) or infection (such as genital herpes or another sexually transmitted infection) is present.

Vaginal discharge that has a bad odor may mean an infection such as trichomoniasis is present. Discharge that looks like curds may mean a vaginal yeast infection is present.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to do a vaginal self-examination include:

  • You are having a menstrual period.
  • You douched or used vaginal products before the self-examination.

What To Think About

Other Works Consulted

  • Krantz KE (2007). Anatomy of the female reproductive system. In AH DeCherney et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 5–55. New York: McGraw-Hill.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of March 12, 2014
1 | 2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 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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