What Happens During A Pelvic Exam With Pap Test?

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Pelvic exams are a great way for women to take care of their vaginal health. An examination allows your healthcare provider or OB/GYN specialist to evaluate the vagina and reproductive organs to look for early warning signs of problems. At Professionals for Women's Health, we understand a pelvic exam and Pap smear can make people feel a little anxious. This is why our team informs patients about what to expect from well-woman care. Schedule your comprehensive assessment by calling one of our convenient locations in Columbus, Dublin, and Westerville, OH.

Who needs a pelvic exam?

All women benefit from routine screenings and pelvic examinations. Most medical professionals agree that your first pelvic exam should take place by your 21st birthday. Your provider can make recommendations about how frequently you need to be examined, although the majority of women only need one each year.

Professionals for Women's Health also advise patients to schedule well-woman care if they notice abnormal symptoms such as vaginal pain and discharge. Other potential issues that require an appointment include:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding not related to your period

  • Painful menstrual cramps that interfere with your normal routines

  • Pain in the lower abdomen

  • Missed periods

  • Inflammation, itching, or chronic bad smell in the vagina

What you can expect during a pelvic exam

Women undergoing a pelvic examination and Pap smear will be asked to change into a medical gown and given a privacy sheet to wrap around their waist. Professionals for Women's Health will learn about your medical and sexual health history before asking about your menstrual cycle, history of pregnancy, and contraceptive choices.

A Pap smear begins when you lie on the examining table and place your feet in stirrups. Your OB/GYN specialist will then use an instrument called a speculum to gently open the vagina. Swabs are used to obtain samples for the Pap smear, which tests for cervical cancer. Early cancer detection is arguably one of the most important parts of well-woman care in Columbus, Dublin, and Westerville, OH.

After the Pap smear, the speculum is removed and your doctor will examine your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Rest assured that this part of the assessment may be uncomfortable, but should not cause any pain or lasting discomfort. Patients are free to bring up any questions about their vaginal health at any time.

After your pelvic examination

Patients can get dressed after their pelvic examination is over. Your provider at Professionals for Women's Health can let you know if we discovered anything unusual during the exam or if any next steps are required. This includes prescribing any needed medications or scheduling follow-up appointments. The swabs used during your Pap smear will need to be examined under a microscope before determining a diagnosis.

Schedule well-woman care in Ohio

Patients should not wait too long before scheduling well-woman care with an OB/GYN specialist, especially if they are showing unusual symptoms. If you have questions about what happens during a pelvic exam or Pap smear, schedule an assessment at Professionals for Women's Health in Columbus, Dublin, and Westerville, OH. Our talented team can make you feel as comfortable as possible during the process.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.