What Are The Benefits of a Pelvic Examination?
The annual gynecological exam would not be complete without the Pelvic Examination.
A Pelvic Examination is as important as taking complete medical and gynecological history of the patient. Pelvic Examinations act as a critical part of the initial diagnostic process, often allowing doctors to build a differential diagnosis or confirm a suspected disorder.
Why Has a Pelvic Examination Been Recommended?
Pelvic Examination is recommended mainly as a primary assessment of the patient’s gynecological health.
Pelvic Examinations are also recommended to rule out or confirm certain disorders of the reproductive tract.
A cervical swab to rule out cervical cancer, known as a Pap Smear Test, is also conducted during the Pelvic Examination. A Pap Smear allows the attending doctor to make an early diagnosis of Cervical Cancer.
What Conditions Can a Pelvic Examination Diagnose?
Pelvic Examination is done as part of the diagnosis process when looking for any gynecological disorders.
Specifically, a Pelvic Examination reviews symptoms such as:
- Pelvic Pain,
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
- Changes in skin
- Urinary Problems
- Unusual Vaginal Discharge.
The Pelvic Examination is considered the first step in a patient’s assessment and may require additional follow up tests to confirm a suspected diagnosis.
What Can a Pelvic Examination Diagnose?
A Pelvic Examination allows the examining doctors to see, feel and examine a patients genitourinary system without being able to provide specific metrics.
Further examinations can include:
- Pelvic Ultrasound evaluations,
- Pathology Tests, or
- Other Diagnostic Tests.
What are the Consequences of Not Having a Pelvic Examination?
The result of not undertaking a regular Pelvic Examination is an increased risk of any Gynaecological condition not being detected earlier.
If an asymptomatic condition of the uterus or bladder remains undetected it may impact on the effective management or resolution of the condition.
In certain cases, this would mean that a disorder may not be caught until it is at an advanced stage where therapy is no longer possible or easy.
How Do You Prepare for a Pelvic Examination?
Prior to an appointment for a Pelvic Examination, the patient is also advised to:
- schedule their Pelvic Examination when they are not having their periods,
- abstain from sex,
- use a tampon or jelly or another vaginal cream up to 48 hours before the examination.
Please wear comfortable clothing
What are the Pelvic Examination steps or stages?
The Pelvic Examination starts with the doctor recording a complete medical history.
The actual Pelvic Examination consists of both the examination of external genitalia and further internal tissue examination with the help of speculum.
It can also include rectovaginal examination and bimanual examination.
- The patient is asked to sit or lie down with legs spread apart in stirrups,
- A visual inspection of the external genitalia or vulva is performed,.
- A speculum (plastic or metal device) is used to expand the vaginal cavity, allowing internal visual examination. This may involve a temporary sensation of pressure or discomfort,
- A small wand is swiped along the wall of the cervix as part of the Pap Smear Test.
- A bimanual approach (two gloved fingers in the vaginal cavity and one hand gently palpating the structures through the abdominal wall).
Finally, the doctor may conclude the examination by performing a rectal examination.
The entire examination takes less than 10 minutes in the doctor’s office. Once the examination is completed, the patient is asked to redress themselves.
How Long Do the Pelvic Examination Results Take?
The doctor is able to draw preliminary conclusions immediately during the Pelvic Examination, however, the results of the Pap Smear Test are determined after the pathology laboratory has run the histology diagnostics. This can take a number of days.
After the Pelvic Examination
There is no recovery time required after this procedure or any special precautions to be practised.
The patient is free to continue their normal routine and diet without concern. This is a walk-in procedure which has no lasting effect on the patient and no lasting discomfort.