A pelvic exam is an examination of the internal and external organs in your pelvis, including the vagina, vulva, uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. During the exam, your doctor checks your pelvic area visually and physically to make sure everything is normal.
Women over the age of 21 should receive regular pelvic exams, similar to general checkups. However, special reasons for having a pelvic exam include:
- unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
- a family history of cancer
- concern about ovarian cancer, cysts, sexually transmitted diseases, and other gynecological problems
- some doctors perform pelvic exams before prescribing birth control.
Pelvic Exam Procedure
Your Queens, New York City gynecologist performs a physical exam to locate signs of ovarian cysts, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and early-stage cancer. An important exam that your gynecologist might perform is the pregnancy pelvic exam.
It is recommended that you do not douche, use a tampon, have sex, use any birth control product — such as a foam, cream, or jelly — or use medicine or cream in your vagina for at least 24 hours before your pelvic exam. Do your best to schedule the exam when you are not on your period. Your period can affect test results if you plan to undergo a Pap smear test. However, if you have a menstrual issue you are concerned about, your doctor may suggest an examination during your period. It is also important to keep track of your last menstrual period and how long your period lasted.
Your First Pelvic Exam
If you have never had a pelvic exam before, let your doctor know when making your appointment. For your first pelvic exam, it is normal to be nervous, especially when you do not know what to expect. Teen pelvic exams are unlikely and doctors do not recommend the exam until a woman is in her early 20s. The process is conducted for teens only if your doctor thinks there is a problem or you have uncomfortable symptoms, such as abnormal bleeding or pelvic pain.
The whole procedure only takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Some parts of the exam may be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. If you feel real discomfort, please let your doctor know right away. Your doctor will do his or her best to make things more comfortable. Your Queens, NYC gynecologist will answer any questions you may have and make you feel at ease during this simple and necessary procedure.
During the Exam
Before the examination begins, you are asked to lie on your back on an exam table. You will bend your knees and place your feet on the corners of the table or in the supports provided. Allow your knees to open as you slide forward toward the end of the table.
The first part of the female pelvic exam is the external visual exam. Your doctor first looks at your vulva to check for irritation, redness, sores, swelling, and any other abnormalities that could appear in the external parts of your pelvis. Next is the internal visual exam. A speculum is used to gently spread your vaginal walls to see into your vagina to your cervix.
The physical exam follows the external and visual exams. Your gynecologist in Queens, NYC feels your abdomen and pelvis to examine your uterus and ovaries. Two lubricated gloved fingers are inserted into your vagina with one hand while the other hand presses onto the lower portion of your abdomen. Be sure to let your doctor know if you experience any pain or discomfort during this part of the examination.
The Pap Test
Sometimes during the pelvic exam, a Pap test — also called a Pap smear — is conducted. Your gynecologist swipes a small swab to collect cervical cells before removing the speculum. The Pap smear usually is first performed when you turn 21. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 are encouraged to have routine screening with the Pap test every year and less frequently if several consecutive tests had come back negative.
You can also have the human papillomavirus (HPV) test conducted at the same time as the Pap test. The HPV test can extend the amount of time from three to five years between cervical cancer screenings. However, it is not recommended to have an HPV test in your 20s due to HPV infections that resolve without the need of any treatment.
Pelvic Exam While Pregnant
As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed, make an appointment with your Forest Hills/Rego Park, Queens gynecologist to have a pelvic exam. The scheduled appointment most likely occurs eight weeks into the pregnancy. If you have an existing medical condition, prior pregnancy problems, or symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and severe nausea or vomiting, see your doctor sooner.
During this visit, the doctor checks vital signs and takes your medical history. Explaining current or past gynecological problems help head off any issues that may affect your baby. Blood and urine tests look for diseases and medical issues such as:
- High blood pressure
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Genital warts
If any of these conditions and diseases exist, your Forest Hills, New York OB/GYN can monitor you closely throughout the pregnancy to ensure your conditions do not worsen. Tests may be conducted to examine the risks the conditions pose on your pregnancy.
Risks & Benefits
There are no risks associated with female pelvic exams. Your doctor can identify any abnormalities immediately, so you can begin proper treatment or take preventive steps. Only Pap smear results are not immediate; they may take a few days to receive.
Pelvic exams are essential for your sexual and reproductive health. Through regular exams, your gynecologist gets to know you, which helps him treat you over the years. The exams let your doctor detect and stop any conditions, including cancers, before they become life-threatening.
After your examination, your gynecologist in Queens, NYC tells you what he or she has found, if the exam went as well as it could have, if medication needs to be considered, when you will get the results of the Pap test, and when to make your next appointment. Notify your doctor if you feel any pain after the pelvic exam. A little bit of vaginal discharge or bleeding after pelvic exams is common.
Forest Hills Medical Services is a comprehensive clinical practice. In our office we believe that how you are treated is just as important as the medical care we provide. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality obstetrics and gynecology with warmth and compassion. Our physicians are easy to talk to and our entire staff is friendly and attentive to your needs.
The best gynecologists in Queens who are part of the Forest Hills Medical Services team are renowned for their extensive skills in performing pelvic exams and recommending the right course of treatment if any issues are discovered.
We will listen to all your concerns and together we will come up with the treatment plan that works for you and your unique circumstances.
Call FHMS to meet our staff in our state-of-the-art offices and be heard.
Gynecologists Dr. James Gohar (OBGYN Doctor), Dr Nithya Gopal and Maris Huffman, NP
Forest Hills Medical Services
108-16 63rd Rd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
☎ (718) 897-5331