Pelvic Exam

The Pelvic Exam is just one part of the physical exam adult women should get every year. If you've never had an internal exam, it's sometimes helpful to know what to expect. When you come in for your own exam, please feel free to ask any questions (before, during, or after).

  • We'll ask you to fill out a medical history. This asks for some very personal information which helps us know how to take care of you. If anything seems too uncomfortable, leave it blank.
  • The nurse will get your height, weight, and blood pressure. She will ask you to get completely undressed and put on the paper gown she leaves for you. A paper sheet is used to drape your lower body. We will try to make this as comfortable as possible for you.
  • The nurse practitioner or doctor will first examine your neck to check your thyroid gland. Then she will do a breast exam and check the lymph glands under your arms. She will press on your abdomen to check for pain or swelling. Let her know if anything hurts you.
  • For the next part of the exam, you will be helped to move down the table so that your bottom is at the end of it and your feet will rest in the "stirrups." This makes it possible to do the pap smear.
  • The doctor or nurse practitioner puts on latex gloves (if you are allergic to latex, please tell the practitioner) and begins the exam by looking at the outside: skin, labia (lips), vaginal opening, etc. She will tell you what she's doing as she's doing it. If you think you have a new bump or rash, let her know so she can check it out.
  • Next a metal speculum will be gently inserted into the vagina. This may be uncomfortable but it should not be painful. If you experience pain, let her know, she may be able to use a different size or shaped speculum.
  • If you take some slow deep breaths and try to relax your muscles, this part of the exam is easier. The speculum is opened so we can see your cervix (if you're interested, we'll help you see it using a mirror).
  • Next some cells are gently brushed from the cervix: this is the PAP test. Then, using gloved fingers inside the vagina and her other hand on your abdomen, she will check your uterus and ovaries.
  • She may need to place a gloved finger in your rectum to check behind the uterus. If you are worried about an STD (sexually transmitted disease) she can take a swab for a culture of the cervix.
  • Then you're done, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!