Internal/External Pelvic Exam Specialist Q&A
At Women’s Health Consulting, we provide comprehensive care for women’s needs. Our gynecologists are experienced in performing internal/external pelvic exams. For more information call us today or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 200 S. Michigan Ave, Suite 1550, Chicago, IL 60604.
Table of Contents:
What is a pelvic exam?
What is the difference between internal and external pelvic exams?
What’s included in a pelvic exam?
Why are pelvic exams important?
During a woman’s annual gynecological exam, the doctor will examine the patient’s reproductive organs, such as the vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries. One of the most important parts of the exam is a pelvic exam, during which the doctor inspects a woman’s internal organs through the vagina. The purpose of the pelvic exam is to detect any internal diseases or abnormalities early on so that they can be treated before they cause any major problems. The pelvic exam also plays an important role in the early diagnosis of some conditions, such as ovarian cancer, so that the woman can receive treatment as soon as possible.
A pelvic exam is a health care procedure that can screen for conditions such as ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, and cervical abnormalities. A pelvic exam is performed by a healthcare provider who is trained to perform them. During a pelvic exam, the healthcare provider inspects the pelvis by palpating (touching) different areas with their hand or a handheld instrument. The healthcare provider will often palpate (feel with the fingers) the abdomen during a pelvic exam. The pelvic exam is usually done when a woman is sexually active, and may also be done if they have symptoms that do not go away or are different from what they are used to. A pelvic exam should not be painful, but there may be some pressure as the doctor examines the internal organs.
The difference between an internal pelvic exam and an external one is where they are performed and what they are looking for. External exams focus on inspecting the external organs, including the vulva and the opening of the vagina, and check for signs of cysts, abnormal discharge, irritation, genital warts, or other issues. Internal pelvic exams involve looking at the organs inside the body, such as the cervix, and look for precancerous changes to the cells inside the cervix, as well as other abnormalities. Internal pelvic exams require the use of a speculum, a plastic or metal device that is inserted into the vagina to hold it open.
A pelvic exam typically involves several parts, including an external examination, an internal exam, and a bimanual exam.
• The External Exam — The doctor or nurse will look at the vulva and the opening of the vagina to check for abnormal discharge, irritation, inflammation, or other problems.
• The Speculum Exam — During the speculum exam, the doctor or nurse will gently slide a speculum into the vagina to separate the walls of the vagina when it opens. For a Pap or HPV test, the doctor will use a tiny spatula or brush to collect a small sample of cells from the cervix; they will send this sample to a lab to see if there are any problems.
• The Bimanual Exam — During this part of the exam, the doctor or nurse will put one or two gloved and lubricated fingers into the vagina while gently pressing on the lower abdomen with their other hand; this can check for: the size, shape, and position of the uterus; tenderness or pain; and enlarged ovaries, fallopian tubes, ovarian cysts or tumors.
Pelvic exams are important because they are used to screen for and treat conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, such as cervical and ovarian cancer, uterine and ovarian infections, and pelvic floor problems. They are one of the easiest and most effective ways to diagnose many common female health problems, and when performed regularly, can help prevent conditions from progressing into more severe complications.
At Women’s Health Consulting, we are dedicated to providing you with all of your pelvic exam needs. Call us today or book an appointment with our internal/external pelvic exam specialist, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 200 S. Michigan Ave #1550, Chicago, IL 60604. We serve patients from Chicago IL, Cicero IL, Oak Park IL, Forest Park IL, Berwyn IL, Maywood IL, and Logan Square Chicago IL. We look forward to serving you!