Pelvic exams are very common, and women should commit to an annual exam once they reach a certain age. Since people often fear the unknown, you may be nervous if you haven’t experienced this procedure before. Learning about the method will help to prepare you and reduce your anxiety.
During the procedure, you lie on your back with a sheet covering your legs and stomach. Your feet are placed in stirrups to keep your legs apart and make you more comfortable during the exam. The doctor or nurse will usually perform an external exam of your vagina to determine any abnormalities. They will then insert a metal or plastic instrument called a speculum into your vagina to gently spread your vaginal walls. They may also use a thin cotton-tipped swab to gently wipe some cervical cells or collect samples which will be later tested for possible signs of cancer or infection. If you are sexually active, samples for sexually transmitted diseases will also be taken.
The doctor or nurse will then remove the speculum and prepare for the second part of the exam. They will insert one or two gloved fingers into your vagina while applying gentle pressure to your lower stomach with their other hand. This allows them to feel your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes to detect swelling or tenderness.
Many women feel uncomfortable and embarrassed during their first pelvic exam. This is completely normal, but you shouldn’t experience any pain during the procedure. The entire exam is usually over in less than 5 minutes.
Resources/Links:Detailed information about the procedure can be found on the InteliHealth website at http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9103/24371/211944.html?d=dmtContent.
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April 2, 2007It is not the intention of Cervicalcancer.org to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Cervicalcancer.org urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.