Peer Health

Gynecological Exams

An appointment to see a gynecologist can be made by calling the Health Center at 597-2206. All female students are entitled to gynecological services, most of which are free, through the Health Center.

The clinic gynecologists are available to perform routine gynecological exams, discuss menstrual problems, prescribe and provide forms of contraception including the Pill, the diaphragm, and condoms, treat vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases, and conduct pregnancy tests.

Peer Health provides a service where women can, prior to their first gynecological exam, talk with a trained peer educator to learn what to expect during the exam. Before your appointment, we suggest you talk with a trained Peer Health educator to learn what to expect during the exam. A GYN Education Session may be a good opportunity to ask questions or relieve anxieties. Appointments for GYN Education Sessions may be made by calling the Health Center at 597-2206 or Peer Health at 597-3140.

A Routine Gynecological Exam

Many young women hesitate to make your first appointment with a gynecologist. Nonetheless, before she becomes sexually active or around the age of 18, every woman should begin to make gynecological check-ups a routine part of her health care. Since most visits to a gynecologist include a routine pelvic and breast examination, it is important to feel comfortable with the procedures and to remember to feel free to ask questions at any point during the examination. Again, taking advantage of the Peer Health GYN Education Sessions to talk one-on-one with another woman about the experience can make the experience of a first GYN exam much less stressful than it could otherwise be.

Breast Exam

The breast exam helps detect abnormalities in the breasts which may indicate cancer or other problems. The doctor will feel each breast, moving in a circular motion to check for lumps or other abnormalities. Feel free to ask the doctor to demonstrate how to do a breast self-exam.

Pelvic Exam

A pelvic exam is an essential part of every woman’s health care program. The pelvic exam helps the woman and her doctor evaluate the health of her reproductive organs and check for unusual color, rash, warts, swelling, irritation, or discharge.

You will be asked to position yourself on the table, placing your feet in the foot rests so that the doctor can examine the pelvic area. You may sit up to watch the clinician during the examination. After looking at the external genitalia, the clinician will insert a speculum, a device which enlarges the vaginal opening to provide a clear view of the vaginal walls and the cervix. Feel free to ask for a hand mirror so that you can look at your cervix.

An important part of the examination is a Pap test. The Pap test is a simple procedure which is used to detect pre-cancerous cells. The doctor uses a small round brush to take cells from the mouth of the cervix. For most women this is a painless procedure, although you may feel the brush touch your cervix.

If you feel that you may be at risk for a sexually transmitted disease, you may want to ask for a Chlamydia test. This test, which is free of charge, detects one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, a disease which often causes no or few symptoms in women but may lead to sterility. Like the Pap test, the Chlamydia test involves taking a few cell samples from the cervix. When necessary, the clinician may take samples to test for other sexually transmitted diseases. Once the tests are performed, the clinician removes the speculum and begins the bimanual exam.

During the bimanual exam, the clinician will place one hand on your lower abdomen and two fingers of the other hand in the vagina. She or he will do this in order to outline the uterus and ovaries. The clinician can then detect pelvic abnormalities and will ask you to describe any tenderness you feel.

Rectal Exam

Lastly, the clinician may perform a rectal exam. She or he will briefly insert one lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum, which will push your uterus, ovaries and fallopian toward the surface of the abdomen. This allows the clinician to feel irregularities which may not be detected otherwise.

After the Visit

Soon after this visit, you will receive results from the Pap test and any other test that may have been done at the time of the examination.