Women's Health Tutorial

Pelvic Exam

Before the pelvic exam, your provider may ask you for a urine sample. Depending on the reason(s) for your visit, the urine may be checked for signs of infection, for kidney problems, or to determine if you are pregnant.

A pelvic exam is your vagina's "check-up", during which both the inside and outside of your vagina are examined. To enable the clinician to see the vagina and cervix better, she will gently insert a sterile metal or plastic speculum into the vagina. First, the clinician will closely look inside and outside the vagina to check for syphilis, herpes, and genital warts. Second, the clinician will place one or two fingers inside the vagina to check the internal and reproductive organs (your uterus and ovaries) for normal development. Then the clinician will examine drops of vaginal fluid for possible infections.

This exam should not be painful, but you might feel slight pressure or discomfort around your abdominal area. The best way to avoid this is to relax your body, especially your vaginal and abdominal muscles, as much as possible. Be sure to let your clinician know if you feel uncomfortable.

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(2003). The Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear. The San Fransisco Department of Public Health. Retrieved November 23, 2004, from http://www.dph.sf.ca.us/HealthInfo/std_pelvic.htm