Health professionals recommend routine pelvic exams for all sexually active women and women over the age of 18. These exams are an opportunity for your gynecologist to assess the health of your reproductive organs and identify any potential issues. Pelvic exams are one of the most important forms of preventative care for women; however, they are rarely the topic of discussion. As a result, many women feel anxious or unprepared before their checkup.
What to Expect From Your First Pelvic Exam
Aside from scheduling your appointment, there is very little you need to do to prepare for a pelvic exam. Bathing or showering before your procedure is recommended; however, you should avoid using any perfumed feminine hygiene products. Some women also prefer to groom or remove their pubic hair prior to the procedure; however, this is not required.
Once you have been called in to see your gynecologist, the nurse will provide you with a gown and ask that you undress from the waist down. Once you have removed your bottoms, you will lay back on the examination table with your feet in stirrups. In this position, your gynecologist will begin evaluating the health of your vulva. This includes a visual check for abrasions or anomalies and a manual check for any bumps or irregularities.
Once the manual examination is complete, your gynecologist will insert a speculum to perform a pap smear. A speculum is a duckbill-shaped plastic or metal tool which is used to spread the walls of the vagina. After the speculum is in place, your women’s health specialist will insert a small wand and take samples of cells from your cervix. This sample—known as a pap smear—tests for sexually transmitted diseases, HPV, and cervical cancer.
During this checkup, your gynecologist may also perform a breast exam or rectal examination. This is also a good time to speak to your doctor about any sexual concerns and ask questions regarding birth control or reproductive health.
If you are ready for your first pelvic exam, contact Thomasville OB-GYN. Located in North Carolina, this OB-GYN clinic offers comprehensive women’s health care for all stages of reproductive health. To learn more about their services, visit their website or call (336) 475-6139 to schedule your appointment.