A Pelvic Exam is physical exam of the vagina, vulva, cervix, uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and rectum.
Who needs a Pelvic Exam?
Pelvic exams shouldbe performed to check irregularities, STI's, and cancer.
All Women who are 21 to 65 years of age regardelss of current sexual activity or sexual preferece(s).
Individuals who have transitioned but not completed gender assignment surgery (female to male).
If you are a transgender man (identify as male but were assigned female at birth), it is important to find a healthcare provider who understands your health history, makes you feel comfortable and provides the care you need.
If you still have female organs (vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries), you are at risk for developing cancer in those organs regardless of how you chose to use or identify (or not) with them. <3, Truth.
What happens during a Pelvic Exam?
The are three parts to the exam that include:
The External Exam: The provider will examin the vulva and the opening to the vagina. The provider will be checking for any visible abnormalities like abnormal discharge, cysts, genital wart, irritation, and things in that area.
The Speculum Exam: In this case the provider will gently insert a speculum into the vagina. The speculum is used to open the vaginal wall to create access to the cerivx. This could cause some discomfort or pressure. If you are getting a Pap test, HPV test, or STD test your doctor may insert a small sample (similar to a cotton swab) to collect cells and send them to the lab.
The Bimanual Exam: Using gloves and lubricant, the top of the abdomen and and internal exam is used to evaluate size of internal organs, pain associated with common infections, and for bladder incontinience.
How often is a Pelvic Exam needed?
This depends on your medical history and the providers medical advice.
Reason you may need more frequents exams:
A history of abnormal Pap Smear (even if returned to normal
A history of HPV
A family history of cancer
A history of sexual health problems
Sexcualy active with a new partner or a partner with an STD or infection
Recurrent bladder infections
Pelvic exams can stop after 65 after a discussion with your provider regarding your individual risk. After all, sometimes life starts again after 65 & needs change.
Let's talk about it.