A pelvic exam is a simple checkup that allows the doctor to evaluate the reproductive organs, both external and internal. The examination will typically include the uterus, vagina, the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and the vulva.
The majority of clinicians say that a woman should have her first pelvic exam either when she becomes sexually active or when she turns 18.
No, pelvic exams are not painful. It is very rare to feel any discomfort at all, in fact. Being tense prior to the exam can raise the odds of feeling discomfort, so it is best to approach the exam as calmly as possible.
A Pap smear is a test that can determine whether there are cellular alterations within the cervix. The Pap smear is a very simple test. The doctor will take a very small cell sample from the cervix, and the results will then be examined by a laboratory. Changes in the cells of the cervix can indicate that a problem is present. An abnormal Pap smear is nothing to panic over, however. While in rare cases it may mean that cancer is present, in most cases it means that human papillomavirus (HPV) is present. HPV is easily treatable, and catching it early in a Pap smear means that there is no reason to suffer.
This depends on the patient and her overall state of health. At a minimum, women should see the doctor once per year for a pelvic exam. Talk to the doctor about visit frequency to make sure that you are doing the very best thing for the health of your reproductive system!
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