Women's Health Services
Whether you are straight, lesbian, bisexual, married, single, sexually active or not, your pelvic exam is a normal and important part of taking care of your body. The pelvic exam is a very important part of a woman's periodic gynecological visit — also called a gyn exam. Gynecology is health care for women. A gyn exam checks out a woman's health — especially her sexual and reproductive health. †
What is a Pelvic Exam or Gynecology (Gyn) Exam?
- During a pelvic exam, a health care provider examines your pelvic area. It includes your vulva and your internal reproductive organs — your cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina. During your pelvic exam, your provider will look for signs of infection and other conditions. Detecting problems early can help you get the treatment you need to keep healthy. †
- If you think you may be at risk of having a sexually transmitted infection, tell your health care provider. Your health care provider can use a cotton swab to take a sample of the discharge from your cervix. This sample will be tested for sexually transmitted infections. †
What is a Pap Smear or Pap Test?
- A Pap test can find pre-cancerous cell changes of the cervix. Sometimes a Pap test is called a Pap smear. †
- Pap tests are usually part of a regular pelvic exam. During a Pap test, your health care provider inserts a metal or plastic speculum into your vagina. The speculum is opened to separate the walls of the vagina so that the cervix can be seen. The health care provider then uses a small sampler — a spatula and tiny brush — to gently collect cells from the cervix. The cells are sent to the laboratory to be tested. †
- A Pap test does not detect HPV itself. A laboratory technician uses a microscope to look at a sample of cervical cells for signs of abnormal cell changes that may be caused by HPV. These cell changes may lead to cervical cancer if left untreated. †
- Pap exams should begin at the age of 21 years. Women should have a Pap test every 2 years. Check with your physician if you should have exams more frequent due to abnormal test results or personal or family history of human papillomavirus (HPV) or cervical cancer. ††
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are available at affordable prices. Please call or stop by to schedule an appointment for an annual Well Woman Exam and to learn more details. A list of contraceptives is available on our Fee Schedule.
- University Health Services does not offer RU-486 Abortion Pill.
- Plan B: UHS will provide Next Choice (the “Morning-After Pill”) for students who receive contraceptive counseling with one of our health care providers and who have a negative urine pregnancy test. For more information on Next Choice please visit: http://www.mynextchoice.com/index.asp
- Free male and female condoms and dental dams are available for all students. Limit 4 condoms per visit.
† © 2012 Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.
†† © FAQ085 2011 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists