The Annual Gynecological Examination
The annual gynecological examination includes the following:
- Pelvic examination
- Pap smear
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening (if indicated)
- Breast examination
- Brief General Physical
We encourage you to communicate with your provider throughout the examination process. The more engaged you are in your exam, the more positive an experience it will be. The Student Health Center Staff will make every effort to make you comfortable. If this is your first exam you should tell your provider and they will tell you what they're doing before they do it!
In addition, we ask that you avoid the use of self-treatment methods for yeast infections (ex. creams) during the 24 hours prior to your examination . It is also recommended that you abstain from sexual intercourse at least 24 hours prior to your exam.
Cost: $55 (includes a Thin Prep Pap smear, chlamydia testing and provider co-pay)
The Pelvic Examination
This is an examination of your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The provider will check for size, position, tenderness and any abnormal growths. In order to do this the provider will insert fingers inside the vagina and uses the other hand to press down on the abdomen.
The Pap Smear
During the pelvic exam, a small sample is collected from your cervix to check for cell changes and screen you for cervical cancer. In order to obtain this sample, a speculum will be inserted into the vagina and partially opened so that the provider can see the cervix. Then, a spatula will reach back to the cervix to collect the sample. Don't worry! This part goes quickly!
All women should begin having Pap smears 3 years after they begin to have vaginal intercourse or when they turn 21 (regardless of whether they've had vaginal intercourse). After that, Pap smears should be done every 2 years, but having an annual chlamydia screening is recommended. If you have questions about this, you should talk to your health care provider.
You will be given the Thin Prep Pap Test.
What you should know about the Thin Prep Pap Test:
- The purpose of the Pap test is to detect abnormal and potentially pre-cancerous cervical cells.
- The test may help determine whether or not a woman is at increased risk for cervical cancer and can also help determine if a woman should undergo further tests (such as colposcopy and biopsy) which can confirm the presence of exposure to the HPV virus (the HPV virus is a sexually transmitted infection which, in some cases, can lead to cervical cancer).
- The accuracy of a Pap smear detecting pre-cancerous changes is increased with repetition.
- It is highly recommended that the Pap smear not be done during the menstrual period. (note: if you are bleeding from your period and need to cancel your appointment you will not be charged for the cancelled appointment. Not sure if you should cancel? Just call! 221-4386)
- Cells are obtained from a woman's cervix at the time of the pelvic exam are preserved in solution and sent to the lab.
- If the Pap test comes back with atypical cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS), then further testing (HPV testing) can be done automatically on the same specimen --This will save you a return visit.
- You will be notified if your Pap was abnormal within 3 weeks
For women who are sexually active, a sample will be taken from the cervix to test for chlamydia and possibly gonorrhea. If indicated, further testing will be done for HPV and herpes. Other STI testing will be done if desired. (Note: Chlamydia testing can also be done with a urine test).
Blood testing for syphilis and hepatitis B are available upon request at the Student Health Center. In addition, if indicated ,we offer HPV reflex typing (this is an evaluation for the presence of high risk HPV types). Herpes testing can be done by culturing a suspicious open sore or though a blood test. The hepatitis vaccine is also available and recommended as protection against the hepatitis B blood borne pathogen. Gardasil, a HPV vaccine is also available at the SHC. More information about Gardasil.
(More information on each of these infections is provided in the Sexually Transmitted Infections section of this online class)
The Breast Examination
An examination of your breasts will be done to check for any abnormal lumps or thickening.
A woman's best protection against Breast Cancer is Early Detection of abnormal breast lumps. It is extremely important that you do a self-examination of your breasts once a month 2-3 days after your period ends. Your ability to detect abnormal lumps increases with practice so be sure to check every month. Learn how to do a Breast Self Exam!
Brief General Physical
Assessment of lymph nodes, head/neck, thyroid, abdomin, and circulation. Baiscally, this assesses any other health concerns you may have.