At the time of pelvic exam, the reproductive organs are evaluated by a doctor. It can be included as the part of regular check up too depending on the health condition of the patients. Pelvic exam is also recommended if you experience strange symptoms like pelvic pain or unusual vaginal discharge.
Only a few minutes are consumed to perform this test. Basically, the pelvis, rectum, uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina and vulva are assessed extensively to detect any abnormality by this exam. Even the Pap test, which helps in detecting cervical cancer, is also undergone during this exam.
What is its significance?
A pelvic exam is needed for the following reasons:
- To assess the gynaecological health: This test is often regarded as a routine physical test’s part. It assists in tracing out the abnormal signs for early-stage cancer, uterine fibroids, STIs and ovarian cysts. It is also suggested during pregnancy. Despite its benefits, lots of controversies are there regarding its frequency so, it is better to ask your doctor.
- To diagnose any medical complexity: Pelvic exam may be advised during encountering any gynaecological symptoms like heavy vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, skin changes, urinary issues and abnormal discharge from vagina. It assists the doctor in proper diagnosing of these signs so that right treatment can be provided to you for the prevention of diseases and infections. Additional treatments and screenings may be required afterwards at the same time.
The ways for its preparation
There is no special step you have to follow to prepare for this test. But for ensuring your comfort, it is advised to schedule the test on your non-period days. Comfort can be assured too if you have urinated prior to the test.
For any queries, note it down and ask your doctor during the appointments. This will help you to more about this test in a much better way.
What should be your expectation?
Usually, pelvic exam is performed at the doctor’s clinic and it consumes couple of minutes only. At first, you have to change the dress and put into the gown. Additional sheet can be provided too for wrapping yourself to enhance the privacy. Prior to this test, doctor can check the lung and heart condition by performing a breast, back and abdominal exam.
At the time of pelvic examination
During the examination, you will be laid on the examination table by bending your knees and placing the feet at its corners or the support (so-called stirrups). Then you will be requested to slide the body towards end by letting the knees open.
Generally, a pelvic exam involves:
- External visual exam
Firstly, doctors will check the vulva for several abnormalities like swelling, sores, redness and irritation.
- Internal visual exam
Then, the doctor will utilise the speculum- metal-hinged or plastic equipment much like a duck’s bill. It is widely used for spreading the opening of the vaginal walls and obtains a clear view of cervix and vagina. Sometimes, it may be warmed prior to insert it for performing the test in optimal comfort.
Opening and inserting of the speculum results in exerting pressure due to which women often feel uncomfortable. In case of pain during the procedure as much relaxation as possible will be offered to the patient to ease the discomfort.
- Pap test
If this test involves the Pap (Pap smear) then the doctor has to swipe the small wand for collecting the cervical cells sample prior to remove the speculum.
- Physical exam
As pelvic exam includes extensive evaluation of ovaries and uterus, it can’t be observed from outside. Sometimes doctor has to palpate the pelvis and abdomen for performing the exam. It will be done with the help of 2 gloved as well as lubricated fingers in the vagina while with another hand the lower abdomen will be pressed gently.
At the time of the exam, shape and size of the uterus will be checked to trace unusual growths and tendered areas. On completion of vaginal exam, gloved fingers will be inserted into the rectum for detecting irregularities such as abnormal growths and tenderness.
Before starting with any procedure, every step will be disclosed to you by the doctor so that you won’t get surprised at all.
Post pelvic examination
Once your pelvic examination gets over, you can dress up again. Later, consult with the doctor regarding the report of the exam.
Our doctors will disclose immediately in case something unusual is discovered. Report of Pap test basically needs a few days to get delivered. The doctor suggests you the next step in case you need follow-up or additional tests and treatment. Pelvic exam is the correct time to talk to your doctor for private medical check up and raise your concerns regarding reproductive or sexual health too.