How Often Do You Need a Pelvic Exam?

The Importance of Routine Pelvic Exams

When it comes to well-woman visits and pelvic exams, you may be wondering how often you should take a trip to your OB/GYN's office. In light of Women’s Health Week, the health experts at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital are here to shed some light on this component of women’s health and wellness.

How Often Should You Have a Pelvic Exam?

Although there is no set guideline on how often you should have a pelvic exam, it is generally advised that you should have one once every year. Just like your regular check-up with your primary care doctor, having a regular relationship with your OB/GYN can help to catch any abnormalities or health concerns earlier on.

What happens During a Pelvic Exam?

External Visual Exam

When going for a pelvic exam, it is normal for your doctor to begin by visually checking your vulva and opening to the vagina. Typically, your doctor will be on the lookout for any of the following visual abnormalities:

  • Redness or irritation
  • Cysts
  • Discharge
  • Sore and other signs of a sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Speculum Exam

Next, your doctor will gently insert an instrument known as a speculum into your vagina. This tool is used to separate the walls of your vagina, allowing your doctor to have a better view of your vaginal canal and your cervix.

Pap Smear

While the speculum is still inserted, your doctor may take a swab of your cervix. This is done to harvest cells for further testing that can indicate the presence of cancer and certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Manual Exam

During the manual exam, your doctor will take the time to inspect your sex organs and reproductive organs. This is done by putting on a glove and inserting two lubricated fingers into your vagina while using the other hand to feel your abdomen. This is done to feel for any abnormalities or cause for alarm when it comes to your uterus or ovaries.

If you have any specific health concerns when it comes to your reproductive health, be sure to reach out to your women’s health care team and speak with your doctor.

Women’s Health Services in Ridgecrest, California

At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Women’s Health Services department, you will find a team of experienced and compassionate physicians who provide personalized care for women throughout every stage of life. To learn more about our women’s health services, visit our website or give us a call at (760) 446-3551 (Mon-Fri 8 AM-4:30 PM).