|Pelvic Exam & Pap Smear|
Description and Purpose
A pelvic exam and Papanicolaou
smear , also known as a pap test/smear ,
are where the doctor inspects and examines the and takes a sample of cervical tissue for microscopic examination
in a laboratory. These examinations are used to diagnose any abnormalities
that the doctor can feel or see without a microscope or that will show
up on analysis of tissue from the cervix.
Preparation and Procedure
The pelvic exam begins with an examination of the (vulva, labia majora and minora, clitoris). An instrument
called a speculum is then inserted into the
vagina to hold it open and allow the doctor to inspect the vaginal tissue
and cervix. At this time, a swab can be inserted into the vagina to collect
a sample of cells for a Pap smear.
If you have or
the doctor suspects an infectious disease, a sample of vaginal discharge
may also be taken.
The doctor will also insert one or two gloved, lubricated fingers into
the vagina while pressing down on the abdomen with the other hand. The
doctor will then insert one finger into the rectum and one into the vagina
while continuing to press down on the abdomen. These steps help detect
structural anomalies or abnormal growths (cf.
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
The Yale University School of Medicine Patient's Guide to
Medical Tests, Barry L. Zaret M.D., Senior Editor, published by Houghton Mifflin.
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