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niks1112's avatar

I need help and advice on the "well woman exam".

Asked by niks1112 (410 points ) May 4th, 2010

For my first time tomorrow, i am getting my well woman exam, i really dont know what to expect and i am kind of nervous. has anyone here had one done? what was it like? what kind of results are possible and so on. any information will be helpfull.

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17 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

You mean a pap? If so, it’s generally relatively painless.

The doctor puts a thing- speculum, I think, up in your bits and expand it so he or she can see. There’s some swabbing, which isn’t comfortable but it shouldn’t hurt. There’s some more feeling around on the inside and out, which again, isn’t the most pleasant thing but shouldn’t hurt. The doc might give you a breast exam too, but it’s totally clinical and painless.

Your swabs will be sent away for testing, and likely you won’t hear anything. That’s what my doctor does at least- if there’s no problem, I don’t hear from her. If abnormal cells are found, you’ll be called back in for more testing. That’s happened to me once, and the next round of tests was fairly painful, but nothing overly traumatic or anything.

Ask your doc to warm up the speculum first. It helps make it more comfortable. The best advice I can give you is to relax as much during it, and be happy you’re making the very healthy choice to spend a few minutes being poked and prodded. It’s really not so bad!

hearkat's avatar

@Likeradar explained it well. There’s no pain involved, just minimal discomfort. For many first-timers, the worst part is the mental discomfort about exposing those parts that we’ve been so trained to keep private.

Just remember that you’re being examined by a professional who has done this same exam on hundreds or even thousands of women of all ages, sizes and shapes. You have the right to have a female assistant present in the room with you if the Doctor is a male and that makes you uncomfortable.

I am in my early 40s and just had a hysterectomy several days ago. I have been going to my Ob/Gyn group for 25+ years, and they are all men. I have never felt compromised during any exams or procedures that I’ve had… and I have a chart that’s quite thick!

Just look at the ceiling and breathe slowly and smoothly to stay relaxed. You’ll be just fine.

gemiwing's avatar

The only tip I could add is to relax. Being tense can make the exam painful.

Also- be honest with your doctor. If you need a moment or a break just say so. It’s very common to be nervous and they will understand if you need a moment to relax.

crankywithakeyboard's avatar

A great doctor will tell you exactly what they are doing the whole time while they are doing it. If they don’t, ask.

MissAusten's avatar

Agree with all of the above, but want to add that you should wear socks. It can be a bit chilly with your feet in those stirrups.

Seek's avatar

Also – if you’re a virgin, let them know. They have a special, smaller speculum for virgins.

Pandora's avatar

What everyone else said plus you should expect a breast exam. You’ll be laying back and they will ask you to raise your arm above your head as they test each breast. This will only take a few minutes and they usually do small circular motions with their fingers to feel for lumps and will go to your under pits as well. I like to always think, this is as uncomfortable for them as it is for you. If you have a male doctor, most will have a nurse in the room at the same time. If not, you can request a nurse be present. This is not an uncommon request. If your doctor doesn’t like it than find another.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Are there any other men out there that looked this over and said, Damn, I’m glad I’m not a woman? Whoever said life is fair?

wilma's avatar

If this will be a general physical exam, and not just a gynecological exam, then they will also take your blood pressure, height and weight. You will be asked to remove all your clothes (they will leave the room while you do this) you will be given some kind of large paper towel to cover up with. (I suppose it’s better than nothing) My Dr. wants to check my feet during my physical, so I have to remove my socks as well. (he has fuzzy socks covering the stirrups.) Before my Dr. does the pelvic exam, he checks me all over for anything that looks suspicious (like lumps or new or changing moles). Looks in my ears nose and throat and eyes.
He asks me questions about many different things including my sex life.
My Dr. tells stupid jokes during the pelvic exam. I suppose that eases the tension.
Try not to worry about the whole thing, many of us go through it everyday.
You will feel better after it is over and know you are taking care of your health.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Just a little side note…people claim a pap doesn’t hurt. I disagree. I’ve been getting papas for years and I’ve never had a very pleasant experience. It always hurts. Not to the point where I’m jumping off the table and running away but enough to make me take a sharp breath in and close my eyes. You should try relaxing of course (even though that doesn’t seem to help me).

Seaofclouds's avatar

Everyone has summed it up really well. My doctor will call and let patient’s know the results of their exams even when they are normal. Generally it takes about a week to get the results in (depending where the lab is they send it to and what kind of system they have set up). If you are going to your family doctor for your “complete” annual exam, they may also want you to get blood work done as well. If it’s just a GYN for strictly “well women” exam, they may not do blood work.

tinyfaery's avatar

If you start to tense up wiggle your toes.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina. After opening it a little, they gaze in and then swab your cervix with a wooden spatula (thinner than a tongue depressor), and then they swab it again with a cytobrush which is like a really long mascara wand.Then they’ll remove the speculum and insert their index and middle finger into your vagina and push those fingers against the front wall of your vagina and push their other hand firmly down on your stomach so that they can check for any bumps or abnormalities in your ovaries and uterus. Then they’ll do a breast exam that’s exactly like a self-exam but much faster and while you’re still lying down. Then you’re done!

This is what the kit looks like: http://img.alibaba.com/img/product/22/00/02/86/220002861.jpg

MagsRags's avatar

@papayalily many OB/GYN offices have switched to liquid based pap tests, done with a single broom-like instrument like this It still feels kind of crampy, but you can get everything you need in one rotation.

hearkat's avatar

@niks1112: Good Luck today! Please let us know how it goes for you. I hope you felt reassured by all this info.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe says: Are there any other men out there that looked this over and said, Damn, I’m glad I’m not a woman? Whoever said life is fair?

Well, I’m not a man, but I have to say that those prostate exams don’t seem all that pleasant, either. ;-)

Anyway, I don’t think I can add anything else to what has already been said about the gyn exam. The key really is to relax as much as possible. (I know for me, though, that’s like telling a zebra not to wear stripes.) If you don’t like how your doctor is doing things, speak up. I’ve had several ob/gyns that I haven’t liked, and I’ve switched.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Prostate exams are no day at the beach, but which would you prefer? Some doctor behind you so you don’t have to watch or your legs in the stirrups with his/her face right next to the goodies? And it’s only one finger. lol

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