THE FEMALE EXAM:
PAP Smear: The PAP smear was invented by Dr. Papanicolaou. It is the ONLY test so far that PREVENTS cancer in women. All other tests (for example a mammogram) only help us find cancers after they exist. Pap smears can detect pre-cancers that we can treat before ever turning into cancer. The Pap smear involves rubbing your cervix to test the skin cells on its surface. We send the sample to the lab and should be contacting you with results within 2 weeks. If you have not heard from us by two weeks, call us.
PELVIC exam: The pelvic exam is different from a Pap smear. A Pap smear is performed when we ‘smear’ your cervix skin cells on a slide or slush them in a bottle of liquid and send it to the lab. A pelvic exam might be just looking at your cervix or testing some of the mucous for an infection. A pelvic exam also includes a ‘bimanual exam’. A bimanual exam means we use both hands to get an idea how big your female organs are – we place a finger in your vagina to gently press on your cervix and use our other hand to gently press on your abdomen. This should be a painless exam.
Your Anatomy: Your uterus is a hollow muscle that is there to hold a baby when you are pregnant and flush out every month if you are not pregnant. It is about the same size and shape as a regular light bulb. Your cervix is the bottom part of your uterus. It has an opening that dilates when you have a baby and holds the baby in your uterus while you are pregnant. The cervix would be equivalent to the screw in part of a light bulb (the bottom part) and is ‘screwed’ into the top of your vagina, which is just a wrinkled up tube. Your vagina is a wrinkled up tube that provides the passage way for a baby to come out. It is a dead end at your cervix. It stretches. Your tubes are the tubes that allow the sperm and egg to be transported toward each other. They are up inside, just behind your pubic bone, on the right and left sides. Your ovaries are about the size of prunes and they produce your hormones and the egg. Birth control pills/patches/rings/ and shots all prevent your ovaries from making eggs.