Medical Tests For Women
Diagrams: Female Body
It is where a doctor manually inspects the woman's reproductive organs. That is, her vagina, vulva, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is usually done as part of a regular checkup or as part of prenatal care. It may also be performed if the woman complains of a problem 'down there' such as pelvic pain or unusual vaginal discharge. The examination is done in a doctor’s office and takes about 5 minutes.
A pelvic examination helps determine if a woman:
Avoid douching for 24 hours before the examination as it may result in abnormal vaginal discharges being missed. You should urinate before the examination, not only will it make it more comfortable, but it also makes it easier for your physician to spot any problems. You may have sexual intercourse before the examination; it will not interfere with the results.
No, a pelvic examination is rarely painful, even if the woman is still a virgin and has not used tampons. It will probably be a little uncomfortable and you may feel a bit embarrassed if you have not had many before. Remember your doctor has performed hundreds, if not thousands of pelvic examinations, he or she doesn't find it in the least bit awkward.
You will be asked to remove the lower half of your clothing and given a sheet to place over your waist for privacy. Some clinics ask the patient to remove all their clothing and give them a gown. You will be told to lie on your back on the examination table and to bend your knees. If your doctor has stirrups, you will be asked to put your feet in these to widen your legs. A complete pelvic examination involves 4 steps. Not all doctors perform the steps in this order, and depending on the reason for the examination, not all steps are always necessary.
Step 1: External Visual Exam
Step 2: Internal Speculum Exam
Step 3: Bimanual Examination
Step 4: Rectovaginal Examination
All women should have a regular gynecologic examination. Most experts agree that the first gynecologic examination should take place between the age of 16 and 19, or sooner if the girl is sexually active. Any woman who is sexually active, is using birth control pills, an IUD device or diaphragm should have an annual test; as should women with a family history of gynecological cancers. Ideally schedule it at time you do not have a period.
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