At the clinic
It’s your first time consulting a gynae. You’re slightly nervous and unsure what to expect but fear not, there really is nothing to worry about.
Just like at a regular health check-up, your appointment will begin with the nurse taking your height, weight and blood pressure.
Your gynae will ask about you and your family’s medical history, and your sexual life.
Part 1: Your gynae will first examine the outside of your vagina for abnormalities, before examining your reproductive organs from the inside.
Part 2: Your gynae will use a speculum – a device that holds the vagina open – to view the inside of your vagina and cervix. You might feel some pressure, but it won’t be painful.
Part 3: A Pap test is often done during the pelvic exam. Your gynae will take a thin plastic stick and a tiny brush and gently wipe away some of the cells from your cervix. Those cells will be sent to a lab and checked for abnormalities.
Part 4: Then, your gynae will do an internal bimanual exam by placing 1 or 2 gloved fingers in your vagina and the other hand on the lower part of your belly, gently applying pressure to your belly. It shouldn’t hurt, but if you do feel pain at any point, tell your gynae.
Pap smear / HPV test
The sample collected from the Pap test may also be tested for the human papilloma virus – which can lead to cervical cancer. If there are other underlying problems, you may also be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
An ultrasound scan of the uterus and ovaries may be performed. This is done either transabdominally (with an ultrasound probe placed over the abdomen) or transvaginally (with the probe placed into the vagina).
And you made it!
When the exam is over, your gynae will tell you what they have found, when you will get the results of the tests, and any follow-up action you need to take. Use your appointment as an opportunity to ask questions. Ask about periods, sex, or whatever you want to know about your reproductive health. You don’t have to be shy or embarrassed about asking – your gynae has heard it all!
If you have no more questions, that’s it, you’re all done!
Total time taken: Approximately 20 minutes.
Infographic brought to you by Mount Elizabeth Hospital