How Do Doctors Check Your Pelvic Floor?
On a pelvic examination, your doctor will inspect your vulva, vaginal opening, cervix, ovaries, uterus and rectum for any signs of cervical cancer. They may also administer a Pap test to further confirm this diagnosis.
To test for weak pelvic floor muscles, your healthcare provider might insert a finger or two into each of your vaginal, urethra and anus openings. Squeeze them gently then let go and rest for 3-8 seconds.
External Visual Exam
Your doctor performs a pelvic exam to detect any abnormalities in your vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries, rectum and pelvis. This examination may be part of a routine checkup and may include a Pap smear if you haven’t had one in some time or are at risk for certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Your doctor will insert a device called a speculum into your vagina to open it up and enable them to see both the vulva and cervix more clearly.
A doctor may perform a bimanual exam, in which they insert two fingers inside your vagina and use the other hand to feel your lower abdomen for any changes in size or position of organs. They can also conduct a rectal exam by inserting one gloved finger into your rectum to check for tumors or other anomalies.
Pelvic exams can be quite invasive and uncomfortable, so it’s essential that healthcare providers do their best to make you feel at ease. Your provider should explain everything they plan to do and be open about what will occur. If there are any concerns, be sure to express them promptly. To schedule an appointment with our team of specialists, visit our contact page.
Internal Visual Exam
Doctors inspect your pelvic floor through a combination of visual and physical examinations. This includes inspecting the vulva, cervix, and fallopian tubes for any abnormalities or swelling that could indicate an issue with reproductive system functioning.
Your healthcare provider will use a lubricated speculum (a plastic or metal instrument that resembles a duck’s bill) to inspect your vagina and cervix. While applying pressure to these areas can be uncomfortable, it should not cause any pain.
This part of the exam may reveal cysts or other signs of STIs that aren’t visible during an external visual examination. Furthermore, it has the potential to detect cancerous growths that develop in your fallopian tubes.
Both OB-gyns and PFPTs perform pelvic exams to detect any issues with your reproductive health. During your appointment, they will review any findings and offer advice regarding what steps should be taken next. For more information on pelvic floor therapy, visit our pelvic floor therapy page.
Your doctor may use a physical examination to check your pelvic floor, vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries for any potential gynecological issues such as abnormal bleeding, sores or cysts.
First, your healthcare provider inspects your vulva for signs of inflammation such as redness, swelling or sores. They then insert a plastic or metal-hinged instrument called a speculum to widen the vagina and take a cell sample for a Pap test.
Your healthcare provider may then palpate the pelvic floor muscles with one or two gloved fingers to feel for pain, tenderness, elasticity and tone. They may also lubricate the area with lotion to reduce discomfort. To learn more about our physical therapy services, check out our physical therapy page.
A Pap smear is a test that detects precancerous cells in your cervix. A Pap smear can help detect cervical cancer at an early stage and save your life.
Testing for Pap can also detect other sexually transmitted diseases and infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV). For women aged 30 or older, an HPV test may be substituted for a Pap smear.
Scheduling a Pap smear approximately five days after your menstruation ends is recommended, as heavy flow during this time may make it difficult for your healthcare provider to obtain an accurate sample of cells from your cervix.
Your doctor will use a speculum to open your vagina and examine the cervix, as well as collect cells with either a brush or spatula. Most women feel some push and irritation during scraping; you can bring along an absorbent pad or pantyliner for comfort. Some people experience mild bleeding or cramps; contact your doctor if these persist. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.