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What happens during a pelvic examination?

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Quick Answer

During a pelvic examination, a doctor visually and manually inspects a woman’s reproductive organs, notes Mayo Clinic. He collects medical information about the patient’s uterus, vulva, rectum, bladder, ovaries, cervix and fallopian tubes to detect any illness in the organs, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

First, the doctor asks the patient to take off her clothes in private and wear a gown, explains WebMD. He then inquires about any health problems and asks her to lie on her back and relax. The doctor then presses down on some areas of her lower stomach to feel the organs and helps the patient get into position for the speculum exam.

Once the patient is in position, the doctor inserts a speculum into her vagina to widen it and allow him to see the vagina and cervix, says WebMD. The doctor then performs a Pap smear, where he uses a small brush and plastic spatula to scrape a cell sample from the cervix for further testing. After removing the speculum, the doctor performs a bimanual exam, where he inserts two fingers into the patient’s vagina and uses his other hand to press down gently on certain areas to examine the inner organs. Sometimes, the doctor also performs a rectal exam, where he uses a gloved finger on the rectum to look for tumors and other irregularities.

After the procedure, the patient gets dressed and the doctor discusses the exam findings with her, states Mayo Clinic. However, the Pap smear results take a few days, and the patient may be asked to return for the results.

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