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Pelvic examination

A pelvic examination is done to check a woman's pelvic organs.

During the examination, the woman lies on a table on her back, with her knees bent and her feet and legs supported by footrests. The doctor places a metal or plastic device (speculum) into the woman's vagina. The speculum opens up and holds the sides of the vagina apart. This allows the doctor to see the opening to the uterus (cervix) and to collect samples for testing.

The doctor may also check the size and shape of a woman's pelvic organs by placing one or two gloved fingers into the vagina and pressing on the lower abdomen with the other hand. Sometimes this examination involves placing a finger in the vagina and rectum at the same time to feel the structures deeper in the pelvis.