What is a Pelvic Exam?
A pelvic exam is part of an annual Well-Woman exam that allows your Ob/Gyn, the pelvic exam specialist, to make sure that everything is as it should be and problems, if any, are detected early. This exam is a normal part of taking care of your health and only takes a few minutes.
How do you prepare for a Pelvic Exam?
Preparing for a pelvic exam typically involves a few simple steps to ensure your comfort and make sure your visit is smooth, efficient, and pleasant.
- It is best to schedule your routine pelvic exam when you are not having your period. If you are experiencing any worrisome symptoms, then your Viva Eve healthcare provider will of course see you even during your period.
- Discuss any concerns or questions you may have with your Viva Eve healthcare provider. They can address your worries and provide any necessary explanations to help you feel more at ease.
- On the day of the exam, take a shower or bath to freshen up. However, avoid using douches, vaginal creams, powders, or any scented products, as they may interfere with the examination or irritate the area.
- Clothing: Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that’s easy to remove. You will be provided a gown to wear during the exam.
- An empty bladder will make the examination more comfortable and allow for a more accurate assessment.
- If you feel anxious or nervous, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or listening to calming music. It can help you relax and reduce any tension.
Benefits & Risks
This is the most common question asked and as we mentioned above, the exam itself should not hurt. Mild discomfort is normal, but you need to tell your doctor right away if you feel any pain.
Patients may feel some lingering discomfort following a Pap smear that may be accompanied by some mild cramping or bleeding. If the discomfort or pain persists, definitely contact your doctor.
You can do a few things: breathe deeply, relax your stomach and leg muscles, or even put on a headset with some music. Some patients find it helpful if their doctor describes what he or she is doing.
Why is a Pelvic Exam performed?
A pelvic exam is performed to evaluate the health of a woman’s reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina. They can help assess overall gynecological health, screen for potential issues, and detect any abnormalities.
Pelvic exams may be performed as part of discussions about contraception methods or when initiating or managing contraceptive devices like intrauterine devices (IUDs).
STD Screening: During a pelvic exam, healthcare providers may also perform tests for sexually transmitted infections (STDs) by collecting samples of vaginal fluid, cervix, or urine. This can include tests for infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or human papillomavirus (HPV).
What can you expect during a Pelvic Exam?
During a pelvic exam, your doctor examines internal and external organs in your pelvis, including the vagina, vulva, uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
The exam typically consists of 3 or 4 elements depending on the timing or any new concerns.
- External Exam – the pelvic exam specialist will examine the outer part of the genitalia – your vulva and vaginal opening and check for any abnormalities.
- Speculum Exam – for the next part of the exam, your doctor will use a speculum (a medical device that is used to hold open orifices and cavities) to examine the cervix. Speculums come in a variety of sizes and your doctor can use a smaller one if necessary. The doctor will also perform a Pap smear and get a tiny sampling of the cells from the cervix wall. He or she may also take a sample to perform an STD test (if requested and discussed at the beginning of the visit).
- Bimanual Exam – The pelvic exam specialist will insert one or two gloved fingers in the vagina, and press on your lower abdomen with the other hand. This is the test to examine the condition, shape, and position of the uterus and any signs of abnormalities. You may feel some very mild discomfort, but it definitely shouldn’t hurt.
Your Viva Eve doctor will make sure that your NYC pelvic exam is as comfortable and quick as possible and will make you feel at ease during this simple and necessary procedure.
What is the followup and recovery like for a Pelvic Exam?
You can resume your normal daily routine immediately after a pelvic exam. Some patients may experience some mild discomfort or spotting after a pelvic exam, particularly if a Pap smear or cervical swab was performed. This discomfort usually subsides very quickly.
Your healthcare provider will inform you of the results of the pap smear and discuss if any follow-up steps are needed based on those results.
What are the potential costs for a Pelvic Exam?
The cost of a pelvic exam can vary depending on various factors, like your insurance coverage, and whether additional tests or procedures are performed during the pelvic exam, such as a Pap smear, STD screening, or ultrasound, as there may be separate costs associated with each of these tests.
Some insurance plans cover preventive services, including pelvic exams, at no additional cost or with a copayment.
Are there related procedures to a Pelvic Exam?
There are several related procedures or tests that may be performed in conjunction with or following a pelvic exam. These procedures help provide a comprehensive assessment of your reproductive health. Here are a few examples:
- Pap Smear involves collecting cells from the cervix to screen for cervical cancer or detect any precancerous changes. The cells are examined under a microscope to check for abnormalities.
- Pelvic Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the pelvic organs, providing a more detailed view of the uterus, ovaries, and surrounding structures. It can help diagnose conditions such as fibroids, ovarian cysts, or abnormalities in the reproductive organs.
- STD Screening may be done during a pelvic exam. It involves collecting samples of vaginal fluid, cervical cells, or urine to test for infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Colposcopy: If an abnormality is detected during a Pap smear or pelvic exam, a colposcopy may be recommended. It involves using a colposcope (a magnifying instrument) to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva in more detail. Biopsies may be taken during this procedure for further evaluation.
- Endometrial Biopsy: In cases where there are concerns about the uterine lining (endometrium), an endometrial biopsy may be performed. It involves taking a small sample of tissue from the lining of the uterus to check for abnormalities or diagnose conditions such as endometrial hyperplasia or cancer.
These are just a few examples of related procedures that may be performed in conjunction with a pelvic exam. The specific procedures recommended will depend on individual circumstances, symptoms, or any abnormalities observed during the exam. Your Viva Eve healthcare provider will discuss and recommend any additional tests or procedures as necessary.