Your Annual Pelvic Exam




Your Annual Pelvic Exam

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Routine gynecological care is essential for all women. The annual exam consists of a breast exam, pelvic exam, pap smear, and sometimes a rectovaginal exam. Every woman should have an annual Pap smear as part of a complete pelvic examination beginning 3 years after having vaginal intercourse but not later than 21 years of age and continuing as determined by her healthcare provider.

Why It Is Done:

A pelvic exam may be done:

* As part of a woman's regular physical checkup. A Pap test may be done during the pelvic exam. For more information, see the medical test Pap Test.

* To detect vaginal infections, such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.

* To help detect sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, or human papillomavirus (HPV).

* To help determine the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding.

* To evaluate pelvic organ abnormalities, such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, or uterine prolapse.

* To evaluate abdominal or pelvic pain.

* Before prescribing a method of birth control (contraception). Some methods of birth control, such as a diaphragm or intrauterine device, require a pelvic exam to make sure the device fits properly.



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