Nobody loves having a pelvic exam, but nevertheless they are essential to ensure that any reproductive health problems are caught and dealt with early on. One way to make pelvic exams more comfortable is to improve your understanding of what your doctor is checking for, and why they are conducting the exam. So without further ado, here are four major things your doctor will check for during a pelvic exam.
Cervical and uterine cancer do not always show symptoms during their early stages when they are easiest to treat. A pelvic exam allows your doctor to notice signs of these cancers earlier than you would notice them yourself. If your doctor sees any abnormal tissue on your cervix or feels an abnormal mass in your uterus when they palpate this area, they may arrange for further testing. Some growths are benign (not cancerous), but your doctor will want to be sure.
One part of the exam involves your doctor palpating your ovaries with one hand on your abdomen and several fingers in the vaginal canal. This can be a little uncomfortable, but what the doctor
Irritation and Soreness
Your doctor will examine your exterior genital tissues, known as the vulva, for any signs of irritation and soreness. Irritation in this area could be due to any number of factors, from a detergent that your body does not like, to a sexually transmitted infection. Since you can't see this area yourself without a mirror, it's helpful to have someone else take a look and assess any visual abnormalities.
Your doctor will also assess the size, shape, and position of the uterus. This can alert them to a few things. If the uterus has a harder texture than it should, this could indicate a problem like fibroids or cysts. If the uterus is placed at an odd angle, that could impact your ability to become pregnant, which is something you would probably like to know.
A pelvic exam may not be the most pleasant thing, but it does not have to be terrible, either. If you have any questions about what your doctor is assessing, do not be afraid to ask at places like Naples Ob-Gyn for more information.