Understanding a Female Pelvic Examination

Today, female disorders are on a rise with the change in lifestyle. Changing climate, coping with stress and anxiety and balancing work and career take a toll on woman and neglecting health leads to different disorders.

Many disorders like pelvic inflammation or cervical motion tenderness need tests and examinations to reach to a conclusion. This test is generally the pelvic examination test. Female pelvic examination test is mainly done in case of palpation of adnexal structures, vaginal swabs, pap smear test or cervical swabs.

The pelvic exam is the physical examination of the female pelvic organs, categorized into internal and external examination. It is also known as manual uterine palpation or bi-manual exam lam bang dai hoc.

The external examination includes palpation of stomach area, skin lesion and examination of the anatomy; while the internal examination includes checking for foreign bodies and use speculum to find external cervical os. Though the procedure is not very painful, the pap test may cause cramping and the palpating of ovaries during the manual exam is painful. Women with vaginal infection feel pain when the speculum gets inserted.

Some researches state that women should have a pelvic examination when she is suspecting pregnancy or it is proven, when there is exposure to sexually transmitted infections or have vaginal complaints like itching, discharge, pain or abnormal bleeding.

Before the examination, the patients get questioned about the number of sexual partners and their sexual orientation. An equipment list gets ready and women are also asked about their earlier discomfort. The patient is also offered the opportunity to have a chaperone in the room during the examination. The patient has to urinate prior to the exam because a full bladder may compress the vaginal canal and obstruct the view of the cervix. The female examination gives a clear view of the entire vulva, perineal area, vaginal canal, and Bartholin glands. Abnormal growth or rashes, lesions, swelling, and trauma, as well as areas of irritation, discomfort, or pain may occur. The examination also informs about vulvar dermatitis, ulceration, sclerosis, condyloma or vaginal varicosities.

It is a rule in US and UK to get the patient’s consent for pelvic exam in advance as the practice of performing pelvic examination on unconscious woman has now been forbidden. The subjects were not even informed about the examination taken. However, the students may learn and understand the details of female pelvic exam with the help of information obtained online. The trainee doctors did it for educational purposes on patients undergoing surgery for unrelated causes and this practice still continues in Canada.

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