What it means to have a Pelvic Exam
When you visit your gynecologist, you will hear them encouraging you to have regular pelvic exams, particularly at the menopause stage. This is because the exams can help you detect some menopausal and postmenopausal complications early to manage them effectively. If your Fair Oaks gynecological care specialist at Capital Women’s Care-Division 45 recommends a pelvic exam, it generally means that they want to inspect your reproductive system medically.
The risk of certain cancers increases with age, and having regular exams can help detect these cancers early. When you are approaching your menopause stage, your gynecologist will recommend a Pap test as part of the pelvic exam to screen for cervical cancer, the type of cancer that mainly affects women around this age. However, you don’t have to wait until you approach menopause to begin the Pap test. It is advisable to have the test every three years once you enter the age bracket of 21 to 65. Once you are over 65, you can stop the tests after you get three consecutive negative results.
Preparing for a Pelvic Exam
There are not many preparations required when your gynecologist recommends a pelvic test. There is nothing special you are expected to do, only to use the bathroom to have the need. This is necessary to ensure that you remain comfortable throughout the exam. Besides, your urine sample can be required sometimes, and then you will have to use the bathroom.
What You Can Expect During the Pelvic Exam
The pelvic exam only takes about ten minutes, and therefore you are not going to be in the gynecologist’s office for long. Although you can feel some discomfort in your vagina, you should not experience any pain. Please speak to your provider in case you feel some pain. Besides, you can also ask your provider any question that may concern you.
How the Pelvic Exam is Performed
When it’s time for the exam, your provider will ask you to take off your clothes, put on a gown or other coverings that will be provided. Note that you will do this in private. Your provider will then talk to you about any health concerns and then ask you to lie on your back and relax.
Once you are relaxed, your provider will feel your reproductive organs from outside by gently pressing down areas around your lower stomach. They will then help you get into the appropriate position for the speculum exam, where you might be required to slide down to the end of the table.
Your provider then performs the speculum exam by inserting a speculum device into your vagina. When opened, this device widens the vagina so that your provider can see the vagina and cervix.
If a pap smear were indicated, your provider would sample your cervical cells using a wooden or plastic spatula and a small brush. Your provider can also take a sample of fluid to test for infections. After this, the speculum is removed, and your provider performs a manual exam with their fingers noting any changes in your organs.
Finally, your provider talks to you about the exam, sharing with you the findings, and advising you accordingly.
The pelvic exam procedure is simple but crucial to your health. If you have not begun your pelvic exams, you can schedule one with the Capital Women’s Care providers and learn more about your reproductive health.