What Happens during a Gynecology Exam?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2019
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Although most women do not look forward to it, an annual gynecological exam is a necessity. A normal gynecology exam will typically start with a round of questions. The patients weight, blood pressure, and height will then be recorded and she will be instructed to undress. The doctor will then examine her breasts and reproductive organs.

Doctors and nurses will usually ask a number of questions during a gynecology exam. For instance, during a patient's first gynecology exam, she will most likely be asked about her medical history as well as her family's medical history. Questions about menstrual periods, sexual activity, birth control, and previous pregnancies are also not uncommon.

After a nurse records a patient's weight, height, and vital signs, she will then instruct her to take her clothes off. The patient will be given a thin paper gown, and possibly a sheet. Most gynecology offices, however, allow women to leave their socks on.

The doctor will then enter the examination room. He should always be accompanied by a female nurse. This helps ensure that the patient is protected from any sort of sexual abuse. It also helps protect the doctor from false allegations.


A breast exam is usually the first part of the physical part of a gynecological exam. During this exam, the doctor will usually visually inspect the breasts first. He will then feel them for any abnormalities, such as lumps. While he is doing this, he may also inform a patient about how to perform a breast self exam at home.

The pelvic examination is typically the next part of a gynecology exam. To perform this exam, the patient will need to move her hips to the end of the exam table. She will then rest her feet in two stirrups at the end of the exam table and spread her knees apart. Some gynecological exam tables also have separate rests for the patient's knees.

The gynecologist will first inspect the external portion of the vagina, searching for any signs of infection or sexually transmitted disease. This can include such things as irritation, discharge, sores, or even parasites like pubic lice. When this inspection is complete, he will then move on to examining the internal sex organs.

To do this, he will need a tool called a speculum. This instrument is used to spread the walls of the vagina apart, and it is usually made from plastic or metal, which can be quite cold. Most doctors will lubricate the tool or vagina to make insertion easier, but for many patients this can be quite uncomfortable. Once the walls of the vagina are spread, the doctor will then be able to see a patient's cervix. He will then usually collect samples of mucus and cells from the cervix. These samples can be used to diagnose certain medical conditions, like sexually transmitted diseases and cancer.

Many times, a gynecologist will also insert a finger into the vagina and press down on the abdomen with his other hand. By doing this, he is able to find out things like where the cervix is located as well as its size. He may also be able to tell if there is any swelling or infection in these areas. It is also not uncommon for a gynecologist to insert one finger into the rectum, which can enable him to feel abnormalities behind the uterus.

While a gynecology exam can be very stressful, it is important to relax, since clenched muscles will cause the internal portion of the exam to be more painful. A patient can relax by taking deep breaths. A doctor may also try to help a patient relax by making small talk.


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Post 3

I had an exam and the doctor put his entire hand in there and all around. He did not warn me it would hurt and he did not stop when I complained. It still hurt eleven days later and my organs are so swollen I can hardly pee and get them inside of me. He did not apologize.

As I am post menopausal, I have been to a few OB-gyn's before and none were as rough as this one. I have a high level of pain tolerance, never complained during natural childbirth, cervical and endometrial biopsy's. uterine internal ultrasounds, etc. Even not with dental work with not enough anesthetic. I'm so scared to go back but I need surgery.

Post 2

I hate gynecological exams. Hate them. They're uncomfortable and embarrassing. Thank the Lord I have a female doctor! Having said that, I also know a woman who died when she was 38 from ovarian and cervical cancer. She was a nurse, but didn't get checked as often as she should have, so her cancer wasn't caught early enough. Seems like she lived three years from diagnosis.

My doctor said most of her patients complain the most about the digital exam. That's the least uncomfortable part for me. A little pressure and it's done. The actual Pap smear procedure is the worst for me. My urethra is farther forward than most women's, so the speculum presses on it and it's very uncomfortable. Fortunately, it doesn't last long, so I can stand it.

Post 1

There have been debates over whether a yearly pap smear and gynecological exam are necessary. I'll say this: a responsible doctor will do a digital vaginal exam to check the ovaries. If there are any abnormalities, this may be the first sign. And, the earlier ovarian cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat, and the more optimistic the prognosis.

A woman is not exposed to radiation or anything like that during a gynecological exam, so I don't see why some people get so upset about it. It's just one of those things you do regularly, like get your teeth cleaned.

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