Disease: Pelvic Exam

    What is a pelvic exam?

    A pelvic exam is an examination of a woman's genital system. A pelvic exam examines organs including the vulva, vagina, uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes; the bladder and rectum are also usually included in the exam. A pelvic exam involves visual examination of the external genitalia and an internal visual exam of the vaginal walls and cervix using a speculum to open the vaginal canal. It also involves palpation, or examination by feeling the size and shape of the pelvic organs.

    Why is a pelvic exam performed?

    A pelvic exam may be performed as part of a regular checkup (or wellness visit) or can be done to investigate abnormal symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, or pain. Pelvic exams are also done during pregnancy check-ups. Pelvic exams are also necessary for cervical cancer screenings, in which a sample of cells from the uterine opening (cervix) are taken for microscopic examination (known as the Pap smear or Pap test).

    What conditions can be evaluated with a pelvic exam?

    A pelvic exam can be useful in the evaluation and diagnosis of multiple conditions.

    Some examples include:

    • sexually-transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, Trichomonas, human papillomavirus, and Chlamydia
    • bacterial vaginosis
    • yeast infections
    • urinary tract infections
    • abnormal uterine bleeding
    • fibroid tumors
    • ovarian cysts
    • infertility
    • polycystic ovary syndrome
    • rectal bleeding
    • endometriosis
    • tumors of the genital organs
    • genital warts
    • pregnancy
    • ectopic pregnancy

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

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