Your Pelvic Exam
Most girls will start going for gynecological care
when they are having any abnormal symptoms (such as vaginal discharge), if they
have just started having sex (or are planning to start), or even if they haven't
yet become sexually active but have reached the age of 18. Here is a
step-by-step breakdown of exactly what is going to happen during the exam.
First off, the patient should make sure that she schedules her appointment
during the middle of her menstrual cycle. If it gets too close to menstruation,
the uterus will start to shed cells, which can interfere with the Pap smear
results. If the patient feels that she may want someone to be in the exam room
with her during the exam for support, she should ask what the doctor's policies
are on this subject while making her appointment. Also during the scheduling,
the patient should make it known that it is her first visit and exactly why she
will be coming for the visit. Secondly, the patient should not put anything into
her vagina for 2 days before the appointment, as this can cause an abnormal Pap
smear. This means that the patient should not have intercourse, douche, or put
dildos, tampons, or fingers into her vagina.
It is helpful for the patient to write down any specific questions, symptoms, or
anything else she may be wondering about and take it to the exam. If considering
birth control, the patient should think about her preferences before her visit.
The patient will be asked about any current medications, so be sure to bring the
bottles for any current medications and also any old medical records if
uncertain about the details of any previous procedures. Also, waits at the
doctor's office may be long, so if nervousness is going to be a problem, make
sure to bring a good book or something else to do that can provide a
Before the nurse takes the patient back to the examining room, she
may ask the patient for a urine sample in order to diagnose urinary tract
infections or pregnancy. Even if a sample is not requested, it is a good idea to
empty the bladder to aid in avoiding feelings of discomfort during the exam.
Once back in the exam room (which will be set up with a tray for the various
tests), the patient will have to give her medical history. She will be asked
about such issues as family history of cancer of the female reproductive organs,
past operations or hospitalizations, and any medications that the patient may be
The doctor and nurse will now leave the room so the patient can get undressed.
She will either put on a hospital gown (maybe 2 if she wants to cover her back)
or she will be given a paper top with a sheet covering her bottom half. After
she is finished covering up, she should sit on the exam table and wait for the
doctor to come back.
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