Speculum examination and bimanual pelvic examination

A speculum examination and a bimanual pelvic examination are often done together. These examinations are used to evaluate the overall health of a woman's reproductive organs.

For these tests, the woman lies on her back on an examination table with her legs parted and her feet resting off to the side in devices called stirrups.

The speculum examination involves the health professional inserting an instrument called a speculum into the woman's vagina. The speculum helps to spread apart the walls of the vagina, allowing the health professional to see the cervix and the walls of the vagina. Samples of tissue may also be collected for testing.

A bimanual pelvic examination often follows the speculum examination. It is done to check a woman's pelvic organs (such as the uterus and ovaries). The speculum is removed and the health professional inserts two gloved, lubricated fingers into the woman's vagina while pressing on her abdomen with the other hand (bimanual means with two hands). This allows the health professional to feel where and how large the woman's pelvic organs are. The woman can tell the health professional if it hurts when her organs are touched or moved.

Last Updated: June 3, 2009

Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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