Pelvic Exam Procedure

What to Expect During Your Annual Pelvic Exam

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The External Exam


Before doing the external pelvic exam, your doctor will probably do a breast exam.  During the pelvic exam you'll be lying on your back with your bottom at the very end of the table and your heels resting in metal supports called stirrups. The doctor sits at the end of the examination table so that he or she can examine your external and some internal organs. The doctor will wear exam gloves during all parts of the examination.

This is the part of the exam that can feel awkward and embarrassing. There are a few things that you can do to make it easier:

* Ask your doctor to tell you what she or he will be doing next so you know what to expect. Sometimes just talking a little bit makes the situation more comfortable.

* Take deep breaths and try to relax. (If you're relaxed, chances are the muscles in your pelvic area will be loose and relaxed, too.)

* If you're embarrassed, tell the doctor. Sometimes just saying it out loud makes you feel better. (You could just say, "This feels so weird.")

* Ask for a pillow if your head is uncomfortable.

* Interested in your own biology? Ask for a mirror so you can watch as the doctor examines the vulva. You can even look into your vagina during the next part; the speculum exam.

Your doctor will do an external examination of your genitals.

Click to watch a demonstration



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