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      Pelvic Exam: Details, Outcomes & Dos & Don'ts

      Scans & Tests

      Pelvic Exam: Details, Outcomes & Dos & Don'ts

      Updated on 18 April 2023

      Has your doctor recommended you a pelvic examination? Or have you been experiencing pain or unexpected bleeding? It may be best to get your symptoms tested before it gets too worse. Consider reading through to learn more about a pelvic examination as well as its outcomes.

      What Is A Pelvic Test?

      A pelvic exam is an examination of the pelvic organs of a female. This test is quite beneficial considering the fact that numerous symptoms related to the female reproductive organs can be evaluated. If you have been experiencing pain, discharge, trauma, or even unexpected bleeding, it may be high time to visit your gynecologist.

      Your doctor will usually insert their lubricated finger into your vagina in order to evaluate your uterus as well as your ovaries. Apart from that, a general check-up of your rectum, fallopian tubes, as well as vagina, are conducted. Before you consider getting a pelvic examination done, it may be important for you to be aware of a few essential aspects.

      Who Should Get A Pelvic Exam?

      Any woman suffering from gynecological problems may be required to undergo a pelvic examination. In fact, this is because a pelvic exam can help your doctor diagnose various reproductive problems including abnormal discharge, bleeding, urinary tract problems, or even unexpected skin changes.

      After a particular age, it is important for every woman to schedule a pelvic exam once every year. Thus, this is because an early examination will help to detect cysts, STIs as well as cancer at the earliest stages. If you are pregnant, undergoing a pelvic examination may be mandatory.

      If you are unsure of the recommended frequency which you should be following when it comes to a pelvic test, it may be advantageous for you to consult your gynecologist. Depending on the present situation of your reproductive health, your doctor might recommend you a few medications, additional treatments, or other diagnostic tests. A monthly check-up might also be recommended.

      How Often Do You Need To Do Pelvic Test

      Based on your overall medical history, the frequency of a pelvic test may be prone to change. However, many doctors recommend a pelvic test at least once a year. If you are above the age of 65, you may need a pelvic exam once in three years. Although there isn’t any limitation on the frequency of your visit, undergoing this test once a year can be beneficial, especially in the long run.

      How Soon Can A Doctor Detect Pregnancy By Pelvic Exam

      Your doctor may detect pregnancy during a pelvic exam, especially if you are six weeks pregnant or more. It may be important for you to realize that even a pap smear test cannot detect pregnancy at the early stages since it is mostly used to detect cancer in the cervix. Therefore, the only possible method will be to measure the HCG levels in your body.

      What Happens During The Pelvic Test?

      You will recline on a medical examination table with your legs bent and your feet resting on the edges of the table or in special holders. You will be instructed to scoot toward the edge of the table and let your legs separate. Your pelvic exam will then proceed to include the following:

      1. External Visual

      In the first stage, your doctor will consider inspecting your vulva as well as the overall external genitalia for signs of swelling, redness, abnormalities, or even irritation.

      2. Internal Visual

      Your healthcare provider will then employ a device known as a speculum, fabricated from either plastic or metal, resembling the beak of a duck, to widen the walls of your vaginal canal and inspect both your vagina as well as your cervix. The speculum may be pre-warmed to improve ease during the process. The act of inserting and expanding the speculum may cause some discomfort for certain individuals. To minimize discomfort, attempt to remain calm, but inform your healthcare provider if you experience any pain.

      3. Pap Test

      In this test, your healthcare provider will a few samples of cervical cells in your cervix. This process is carried out way before the speculum is removed. You might feel a little bit of discomfort during the pelvic exam procedure.

      4. Physical Exam

      Since the internal reproductive organs such as the uterus and ovaries cannot be viewed from the outside, a physical examination (palpation) of the abdominal and pelvic region is required in this stage of the examination. The doctor will insert two lubricated, protected fingers into the vaginal canal using one hand, while the other hand applies delicate pressure on the external surface of the lower abdominal area.

      During the examination, the doctor will examine the measurements and shape of the uterus and ovaries and note any areas of discomfort or unusual developments. Following the vaginal examination, the doctor will insert a protected finger into the rectum to check for any signs of soreness, growth, or other abnormalities.

      Do And Don't Before And After A Pelvic Exam

      It may be important for you to avoid sexual activity, suppositories, douches, or even vaginal creams at least three days before your pelvic exam or pap smear test. Grooming yourself might also be beneficial since you will be able to feel more comfortable with your body.

      This is also a good time to consult your doctor regarding your present reproductive health, sexual activity, and other genitalia issues. If you are in search of answers to your doubts, consider speaking to your doctor during this time.

      Your gynecologist will let you know immediately, especially if there is anything unusual about your pelvic exam. If you are undergoing a pap smear test, it may take you a few days to receive your result. You might also need to undergo a few follow-up treatments especially if you have a few diagnosed problems.


      1. What Does A Pelvic Exam Feel Like?

      During your pregnancy pelvic exam, you may feel uncomfortable or anxious. However, you shouldn’t be feeling any kind of pain. Breathing deeply or even urinating before the test may help me relieve the discomfort. If you feel any sort of pain or unbearable discomfort, consider letting your doctor know.

      2. When Should A Girl Have Her First Pelvic Exam?

      The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends women undergo their first pelvic exam when they are in the age range of 13 to 15. However, in many regions, many doctors recommend a pelvic exam after you are sexually active or if you are above the age of 21. Yet again, an early pelvic exam may be required if you have health problems related to menstruation or unexpected bleeding. Sometimes, pain in the abdomen region might also require you to visit your gynecologist.

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