Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Stds > First Gynecological Exam
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

First Gynecological Exam

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: What happens during a girl's first visit to a gynecologist?

A: Excellent question! Teens and parents alike often ask pediatricians about this. The gynecologic exam is an important part of health care for all women. Its purpose is to evaluate the size and shape of the uterus (womb) and ovaries, to do a Pap smear to detect early signs of cervical cancer, and to screen for sexually transmitted diseases.

The doctor will start the examination with you resting on your back on an exam table. You'll have you put your feet into footrests at the end of the table, to help you stay comfortable with your legs apart during the exam. The doctor will start by looking at the outside of your genital area and then use a gloved hand to look at the vaginal opening between the labia (folds of tissue around the vagina).

The next step is the speculum exam. A speculum is a plastic or metal object that helps the doctor look inside the vagina. The speculum has two flat blades about the size of a tongue depressor, which are inserted a few inches into the vaginal canal until the doctor can see the cervix (opening of the uterus). Most women say that this feels uncomfortable but not painful, and that it causes a sensation of pressure. The doctor will usually take cell samples for three tests from your cervix; two are with cotton swabs to look for sexually transmitted diseases, and the third is with a brush and a flat blade for the Pap smear. Once these have been taken, the speculum is taken out of the vagina.

The last part is a manual exam with the doctor's hands. The doctor will put a lubricating jelly on her gloved hand and will insert one or two fingers into your vagina. With the other hand, she will push on the lower part of your abdomen (belly). This helps the doctor feel the size of your uterus and ovaries.

The entire exam takes only a few minutes. The doctor explains what she is doing throughout the exam, and you should ask questions at any point. Afterwards, it is normal to have a small amount of blood spotting over the next day or so. Don't forget to check the results of the tests for sexually transmitted diseases and the Pap smear, which take a few days to come back.

Hank Bernstein
Children's Hospital

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Surprising Sources of Caffeine in Kids' Foods
Even low doses of caffeine can have an effect on your child's health. Since the FDA doesn't require caffeine content on food labels, learn about hidden sources of caffeine in kids' diets.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!