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
* 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.