Have you been putting off getting a pelvic exam because you're not sure what to expect? Or maybe you're about to have your first pelvic exam and feeling a little nervous? Well, you're in the right place. Our goal at Pelvic Floor Therapy is to give you all the information you need to take charge of your pelvic health. In this in-depth guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of pelvic exams, so you can go into your appointment feeling confident and prepared.
What Happens During A Pelvic Exam Table of Contents
A pelvic exam is a routine medical check-up performed by a healthcare professional, such as a gynecologist, primary care provider or nurse practitioner. The main goal of this exam is to assess the health of your pelvic organs, including the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of what happens during a pelvic exam:
Medical History Discussion
Prior to the exam, your healthcare provider will ask you about your medical history, including your menstrual cycle, sexual activity, and any symptoms or concerns you may have.
The exam will begin with an inspection of the external genital area (vulva). Your healthcare provider will be looking for any abnormalities, such as signs of infection or irritation.
Transform Your Pelvic Floor in Just 4 Weeks: The Pelvic Floor Bible
To assess the internal organs, your healthcare provider will use a lubricated instrument called a speculum. The speculum is gently inserted into your vagina, allowing them to visualize your vaginal walls and cervix. They may take a sample (pap smear) to screen for cervical cancer, and also check for any discharge or signs of infection.
After the speculum is removed, your healthcare provider will perform a bimanual examination. This involves inserting one or two gloved, lubricated fingers into your vagina, while the other hand gently presses on your abdomen. This allows them to check for any abnormalities in your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, and to assess the overall size, shape, and position of these organs.
This step is only performed when necessary, typically when checking for certain conditions or symptoms. The healthcare provider inserts one finger into the vagina and another into the rectum, allowing them to assess the area between the two – known as the septum.
Throughout every part of the exam, your healthcare provider will discuss what they're doing and ask for your consent. It's essential to communicate your concerns, ask questions, and remember that you have the right to stop the exam at any time if you feel uncomfortable.
Example: Feeling Empowered During Your Pelvic Exam
Annie was scheduled for her first pelvic exam and was feeling a bit anxious. After reading this guide, she understood what to expect and felt more at ease. At her appointment, she spoke openly with her healthcare provider about her concerns and asked questions throughout the process. Understanding each step of the exam helped Annie feel more empowered and in control, making the experience more comfortable overall.
By understanding the process of a pelvic exam, you can face your appointment with confidence. Remember, taking charge of your pelvic health is vital – and the pelvic exam plays a critical role in maintaining your overall wellbeing.
Now that you're in the know, why not empower others? Share this article with friends and encourage them to learn more about pelvic exams, and other essential pelvic health topics. Explore our other guides here at the Pelvic Floor Therapy blog to stay informed and in control of your pelvic health.