In This Section
Routine and Yearly Examinations in West Virginia & Pennsylvania
An important part of staying healthy is to have regular gynecological exams beginning at age 18, or within three years of becoming sexually active.
Preventive care includes:
- Discussion of health topics based on your age and risk factors
- Exams and screening tests
What to Expect for Your Annual Gynecology Exams
In addition to checking your height, weight, and blood pressure, your doctor will ask you questions about your general health, menstrual period, and sexual activities. During your exam, your doctor will perform the following exams and tests. If the doctor is male, a female nurse remains in the room during your exam.
During your breast exam, your doctor will check your breasts for signs of any potential problems, such as a lump. He or she will examine each breast by moving his or her fingers around your breast in a pattern. You may also be shown how to perform monthly self-examinations.
During your pelvic exam, your doctor will examine your vagina, cervix and reproductive organs. Once you place your feet against footrests at the end of the examining table and slide forward, your doctor will then insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina to gently spread the walls apart to examine the area. Your doctor then places one or two gloved, lubricated fingers into your vagina and the other hand presses on your abdomen from the outside to check the size, position, and shape of your internal pelvic organs. The pelvic exam may feel a bit uncomfortable, but should not hurt.
A Pap smear checks for abnormal cells in the cervix that could lead to cancer. The doctor will insert a small cotton-tipped swab through the vagina into the cervix. Cells are removed from the cervix and sent to a laboratory to be checked for any abnormalities. The Pap smear is painless.