A pelvic exam is when a doctor examines a woman's reproductive organs. According to the Mayo Clinic, a pelvic exam includes the examination of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, rectum, ovaries and pelvis.
According to WebMD, the purpose of a pelvic exam is to determine the health of woman's reproductive organs and look for signs of illness. Tests are often done to help determine the risk of illness, and a Pap smear is frequently performed to screen for cervical cancer. Pelvic exams are performed when a woman is pregnant, when there is a threat of having a STD or when a woman is experiencing pain in her pelvic region. They are also part of annual physical exams for women.