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.
Normally, there are no problems from doing a vaginal
A vaginal self-examination is a way for a woman to look at her
vagina. You should tell your doctor about any problems
The vulva does not have sores or other growths, such as
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
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
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
- You are having a menstrual
- You douched or used vaginal products before the
What To Think About
- A vaginal self-examination should not replace a
regular pelvic examination and Pap test done by your doctor.
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:
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014