Why it's done

You might need a pelvic exam:

  • To assess your gynecological health. A pelvic exam often is part of a routine physical exam to find possible signs of ovarian cysts, sexually transmitted infections, uterine fibroids or early-stage cancer. Pelvic exams are also commonly performed during pregnancy.

    There is a lot of debate among experts regarding the recommended frequency of pelvic exams. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends.

  • To diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor might suggest a pelvic exam if you're experiencing gynecological symptoms such as pelvic pain, unusual vaginal bleeding, skin changes, abnormal vaginal discharge or urinary problems. A pelvic exam can help your doctor diagnose the causes of these symptoms. Your doctor might suggest additional diagnostic testing or treatment.
June 20, 2017
  1. LeBlond RF, et al., eds. The female genitalia and reproductive system. In: DeGowin's Diagnostic Examination. 10th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  2. Frequently asked questions: Especially for teens FAQ150. Your first gynecological visit. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Your-First-Gynecologic-Visit-Especially-for-Teens. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  3. Frequently asked questions: Abnormal cervical cancer screening test results. FAQ187. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Abnormal-Cervical-Cancer-Screening-Test-Results. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  4. Carusi DA, et al. The gynecologic history and pelvic examination. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  5. Butler Tobah YS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 23, 2017.