How To Prepare
Before a pelvic exam:
- Try to schedule the exam when you are not having your period, since blood can interfere with the results of a Pap test. But if you have a new vaginal discharge or new or increasing pelvic pain, a pelvic exam may be done while you are having your period.
- Do not use douches, tampons, vaginal medications, or vaginal sprays or powders for at least 24 hours.
- Do not have sex for 24 hours prior to the exam if you have abnormal vaginal discharge.
At the beginning of your visit, tell your health professional:
- If you are or might be pregnant.
- If you have any reproductive or Reference urinary tract Opens New Window symptoms such as itching, redness, sores, swelling, or an unusual odor or increased vaginal discharge. If you have been performing regular vaginal self-exams, discuss any changes you have noticed with your health professional. For more information, see the medical test Reference Vaginal Self-Examination (VSE).
- If you are using a method of birth control.
- If this is your first pelvic exam.
- The first day of your last menstrual period and how long your period lasted.
- If you have had surgery or other procedures, such as Reference radiation therapy Opens New Window, involving the vagina, cervix, or uterus.
If you have had problems with pelvic exams in the past or have experienced rape or sexual abuse, talk to your health professional about your concerns or fears before the exam.
No other special preparations are needed before having a pelvic exam. For your own comfort, you may want to empty your bladder before the exam.
Talk to your health professional about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 14, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology