When the speculum is inserted into the vagina, patients will typically feel discomfort and pain can be expected; however, pain after a pelvic exam is more prominent and intense if the patient has a vaginal infection, as reported by WebMD. Since the metal speculum is hard and cold, it may also be the cause of the discomfort, which is why most medical professionals tend to warm the speculum first with water, and apply lubrication before inserting the speculum into the vagina. To avoid discomfort and pain, patients need to be relaxed during the pelvic exam, and so, most medical experts recommend taking the time to become acquainted with the health professional beforehand.
A small brush or a wooden spatula is typically used to collect cervical cell samples during the pelvic exam in order to test for sexually transmitted diseases, the presence of bacteria or any abnormalities like cancer. After the sample has been taken, patients can expect some staining or bleeding.
Most pelvic exams are accompanied with rectovaginal exams. This is when the medical professionals inspect both the rectum and the vagina in order to evaluate the condition of both the ovaries and uterus ligaments. Medical experts will also take the time to determine whether there are any unusual growths that need to be addressed immediately.