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How To Prep For Your First Pelvic Exam

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If you are sexually active or you are planning to be, you need to schedule a pelvic exam. If it is your first pelvic you are bound to be scared. Here are some tips to help you overcome the fear.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 60 minutes.

Here's How:

  1. You need a pap smear and pelvic exam if you are sexually active and/or if you are 18 or older. This can be done by your family doctor or a gynecologist.
  2. Schedule the appointment during a time when you will not be having your period.
  3. Make a list of any questions or concerns you have about your body or the exam prior to your appointment.
  4. Speak up as soon as you get in to the doctor's office, most doctors are willing to spend extra time talking with you during your first exam.
  5. Make sure you state that you clearly state that this is your first pelvic exam. Feel free to ask the doctor to describe exactly what you shoud expect. If you are feeling nervous, say so.
  6. Remember, you are entitled to have a female nurse present during the exam, even if your doctor is female. If you want the nurse present, say so as soon as possible - and it is OK to ask the nurse to join you part way through.
  7. When it is time for the exam, ask to have the stirrups adjusted until you feel comfortable.
  8. The first thing your doctor will do is look at the outside genitalia.
  9. The doctor will then insert a metallic instrument called a speculum inside of you. The speculum allows the doctor to look at your inner vaginal walls and the cervix. When it is time for the speculum to be inserted, try not to clench up.
  10. Stay calm and relaxed at all times. Take deep breaths to relax your muscles. The exam will be uncomfortable, even awkward, but it should not hurt.
  11. Next comes the pap smear. This is a long cotton swab that is brushed over the vaginal wall and cervis to collect cell samples that will be analyzed in a lab for abnormalities (STDs, cancer cells, etc).
  12. The pap smear is the most uncomfortable part of the exam, and may cause a slight bit of pain when the swab touches the cervix. To keep it as comfortable as possible, continue to take deep breaths as the pap smear is being taken.
  13. Once the speculum is removed, a vaginal/pelvic exam will be performed using two fingers. This is to feel for abnormal growths or cysts that can not be seen with a visual exam. It also allows the docor to exam the uterus and ovaries.
  14. There is no reason for a doctor to touch or stimulate your clitoris during a routine pelvic exam. If your clitoris is touched ask your doctor to explain why and feel free to discuss the doctor's answer with another medical professional.
  15. The hard part is over. Congratulate yourself on making it through the exam!
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