All women, whether with kids or not, should undergo a pelvic exam to determine the overall health of your reproductive organs. Such kind of exam can also check possible signs of any reproductive issues that can affect your ability to conceive and bear a child. To ensure a healthy reproductive system, you should take a pelvic exam once you turn 21 years of age.

It is only natural to feel uneasy and nervous on your first pelvic exam. However, the gynecologist or certified medical personnel will use a disposable speculum with light to examine your vaginal and cervix area. However, you can also discuss your concerns with your doctor before undergoing the exam.

Types of speculums

As mentioned, your doctor will use a speculum, a duckbill-shaped medical tool that is commonly used for inspecting your vagina and cervix and determine any possible signs of reproductive problems. There are actually different types of speculums.

The first one varies according to the patient. There are shorter and narrower types of speculums intended for small children and teenage girls, respectively. On the other hand, there are also larger ones intended for adult women and especially those who already bore children. Meanwhile, there are other types of speculums used to inspect other parts of the body, such as the inside of the ears, nose, and anus.

young woman consulting her gynecologist

What to expect in a pelvic exam

Also known as a gynecological exam, a pelvic exam can help determine any possible reproductive problems and be able to manage such conditions as soon as possible. If you think you have an infection or STD, inform your doctor because you may be required to take special tests whenever necessary.

You will be asked to wear a cloth or paper gown and then lie down on the exam table on your back. You will also be instructed to spread your legs, exposing your vaginal area. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially if it is your first time.

However, remember that your doctor has already done this countless time since the beginning of their medical career. Just make sure to relax especially your vaginal and stomach muscles while the exam is ongoing.

First, the doctor or nurse will check your vaginal opening and vulva for any abnormal discharge, infections, and signs of cysts. The medical personnel will then insert the speculum, which can be made from either metal or plastic, inside your vagina. It may feel a little uncomfortable, but it should not hurt.

The doctor will then use a small brush or spatula to swipe a cell sample from your cervix. The sample will then be sent for a Pap test for any signs of potential cervical cancer. If there is a presence of discharge, a sample will also be taken and tested for evaluation.

Results will be given after a few days or weeks. From there, you will know if you have possible reproductive problems that you should take necessary action steps to avoid worst-case scenarios. This is the reason why it is important for all women to have a pelvic exam.

It doesn’t matter whether you have children, sexually active, or a first timer. It can be uncomfortable, but it should subside. Your health care providers will assure you throughout the examination and make sure you are in good hands.