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Introduction to the Female Exam. Anatomy Pelvic Exam Hormonal cycles Uterine conditions Ovarian conditions Breast evaluations. So, who should have a pelvic exam and why? Annually for all women who are sexually active, or as a baseline, women at the age of 21. .

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introduction to the female exam
Introduction to the Female Exam
  • Anatomy
  • Pelvic Exam
  • Hormonal cycles
  • Uterine conditions
  • Ovarian conditions
  • Breast evaluations
So, who should have a pelvic exam and why?Annually for all women who are sexually active, or as a baseline, women at the age of 21.
important issues related to this exam
Important issues related to this exam:
  • Cultural issues
  • Patient modesty
  • Anxiety about exam
  • History of rape, molestation or abuse
  • Office environment
office environment
Office environment
  • ALWAYS have another person in the room while examining female genital area or breasts.
  • Explain what you are going to be doing, before you do each step/manuever
  • Insure patient comfort, and modesty….
patient comfort modesty
Patient comfort/modesty
  • Use gowns AND sterile drapes over pt legs
  • Allow patient to wear socks, bra (if no breast exam is being done), sweater, etc.
  • Foot of exam table does not face the door
  • Door is clearly marked to avoid interruption
  • Another person in the room all the time, taking notes or somehow attentive
3 parts to the pelvic exam
3 Parts to the Pelvic Exam
  • 1. Observation and the speculum exam
  • 2. Bimanual exam
  • 3. Recto-Vaginal Exam (includes DRE)
but first we ask history inspect and palpate
But first, we ask history, inspect and palpate.
  • Pubic hair-triangle pattern
  • Lymph nodes
  • Orifices
  • Palpate:
    • Urethral meatus-incontinence
    • Labia
    • Skene’s, then Bartholin’s glands
    • Perineum
the speculum exam
The Speculum Exam
  • Performed prior to the bi-manual exam so as not to disturb the tissues/samples
  • Performed without lubricant jelly
  • Always inserted with the speculum blades warmed with warm water and closed
  • Inserted at a 45 degree angle posteriorly
visual observation of the cervix
Visual Observation of the Cervix
  • Position—is it anteverted, deviated, etc
    • The position of the cervix gives clues to the position of uterus
  • Color—should be flesh-colored, but ranges from pink to dark brown (blue or pale??)
  • Surface characteristics—cysts, erythema
  • Discharge
  • Size and shape of os
the papanicolaou exam pap
The Papanicolaou Exam (“Pap”)
  • Developed over 50 years ago by Dr. George Papanicolaou
  • A minimum of two samples will be taken:
    • Cervical cells
    • Vaginal secretion
  • Other tests may be done to screen for STDs
What are the three most common STDs among women?
    • HPV, Herpes, Chlamydia, (Now 10’s of millions of existing cases)
    • The Quad Cities has the highest incidences of STDs in Iowa
    • In women, often no visible symptoms
      • Protect Yourself!
what s the goal of a pap smear
What’s the goal of a Pap Smear?
  • The “Pap smear” evaluates the condition of the cervical cells (taken with cervical brush or spatula)
  • Assessing “transitional zone” of the cervix
accuracy of the pap smear
Accuracy of the Pap Smear
  • It is estimated that the Pap Smear has decreased the death rate due to cervical CA by 75%
  • “False-positives” range from 10% to 40%
  • “False-negatives” range from 1% to 15%

(This is good)

vaginal secretion samples
Vaginal Secretion Samples
  • In addition to the cell sample, additional information can be gained from the surrounding secretions
  • Sampling methods are dependent upon the goal of the screening
bacterial vaginosis aka vulvovaginitis
Bacterial Vaginosisaka: Vulvovaginitis
  • General description for anything that causes symptomatic discharge (an irritant)
  • May be due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, or protozoans
  • Patient may talk to you about: vaginal or vulvar itching, burning, or change in color, texture or odor of discharge
the bimanual exam
The Bimanual Exam
  • The bimanual exam is the second part of a complete pelvic exam
  • Necessary to evaluate the cervix, uterus, and adenexal regions (ovaries, fallopian tubes, surrounding areas)
  • Move the cervix to assess for PID/Endometriosis
  • Important even if patient is not sexually active
recto vaginal exam dre
Recto-Vaginal Exam; DRE
  • The Recto-Vaginal exam is the 3rd and final part of the pelvic exam
  • May help evaluate the posterior aspect of the uterus (esp. if retroverted)
  • Allows exam of rectal walls (initial screen for colo-rectal cancer or polyps)
uterine fibroids
Uterine Fibroids
  • AKA: myoma, leiomyoma, fibroma
  • Very, very common (40% of women > 40)
  • The most common tumor of the pelvis
  • The most common reason for a hysterectomy
    • 33% of 600,000/yr.
  • Benign, benign, benign!
risk factors
Risk Factors
  • Nulliparity or delayed childbearing
  • African American women have 2-3 times the incidence
uterine fibroids symptoms
Uterine Fibroids: Symptoms
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Abdominal distortion
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Low back pain; dyspareunia
  • Infertility
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Miscarriage or premature labor
Plain Film Findings:Cauliflower-like radio-opaque mass seen in the pelvic cavity, in the area of the uterus.
is it any wonder problems include low back pain urinary frequency constipation infertility
Is it any wonder problems include low back pain, urinary frequency, constipation, infertility?
treatment options from least to most invasive
Treatment Options(from least to most invasive)
  • “Wait and see”
  • Drug therapy (GnRH agonists)
  • Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)
  • Myomectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Endo=inner metr=layer osis=condition
  • Normal endometrium found in abnormal places
  • Therefore, “ectopic tissue” responds to hormone levels just like the inner layer of the uterus
  • How?
    • Retrograde menstrual flow, fallopian tubes, abdomen
    • Lymphatic or circulatory systems cause spread
risk factors1
Risk Factors
  • Young age: 10-15% of women ages 25 to 44 have endometriosis
  • Family History (6 - 12% of cases)
  • Nuliparity or delayed childbearing
  • Asians and Caucasians are at highest risk
  • Onset of endometriosis is at onset of menses
  • Delay in seeking care = 4.67 years
  • Delay in diagnosis = 4.61 years
    • Delay for ages 15-19 years is 8.3 years
  • Symptoms confused with “typical” dysmenorrhea or UTIs
  • 1/3 of women say doctor took symptoms “not at all seriously” and 1/4 said “not very seriously”
signs and symptoms
Signs and Symptoms
  • Pain, pain, pain (low back and pelvic)
  • Pelvic mass
  • Alterations of menses
  • Dysmenorrhea (pattern = pain just prior to menses)
  • Infertility
  • Dyspareunia
  • Pain with defecation, urination
pattern of menstruation
Pattern of Menstruation
  • Women with endometriosis have:
    • earlier onset of menses
    • regular cycles
    • shorter intervals between periods (less than 27 days)
    • more severe menstrual cramps
    • prolonged menstrual flow (> 1 week)
what do the lesions look like
What do the lesions look like?
  • Endometrial deposits can occur anywhere in pelvis
    • Ovary—most common (75%); an ideal site for growth
    • Posterior cul-de-sac—70%
    • Between the uterus and bowel—35%
    • Uterosacral ligament—30%
    • Ureters
    • Uterus
    • Bowel
    • Also known to occur on appendix, gall bladder, stomach, spleen, liver, lung
  • Remember—this normal uterine tissue in an abnormal location responds to fluctuations in hormone levels just as the rest of the uterus. So…
  • Bleeding lesions inflammatory response

fibrin deposition adhesion formation

distortion of the peritoneal surfaces


Peritoneal AdhesionsAdhesions, caused by inflammation around site of endometriosis, cause uterus and cervix to be “fixed”, and the cervix is very painful upon movement (during female exam, and during intercourse).

confirming the diagnosis
Confirming the Diagnosis
  • Suspected by case history
  • Visible lesions on the vulva or cervix
    • Red, brown, black (remember—may bleed)
  • Speculum exam (“shotty nodules”)
definitive diagnosis
Definitive Diagnosis
  • The definitive diagnosis can only be made by direct visualization of the lesions
  • Presently, confirmed by laparoscopy
treatment options
Treatment Options
  • Keep in mind that these patients typically suffer a prolonged course of multiple therapies/surgeries
  • “Leave it alone”
  • Drug therapy
  • Laparotomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Child-bearing (or pseudo-pregnancy conditions)
  • How successful is laparotomy? 70-90% pain
  • Does it recur after treatment? 10-20% within 3 yrs
  • Can tubal ligation help? Theoretically
  • Does intercourse during menses risks? No
  • Does use of tampons risks? No
  • Does early pregnancy protect against it? Maybe
  • C-sections and endometriosis? A possibility
infertility and endometriosis
Infertility and Endometriosis?
  • Peritoneal fluid normally acts as a lubricant.
  • Endometriosis causes changes in the volume and cellular content of the peritoneal fluid.
    • Fluid level is increased
    • Leukocytes are increased
    • Prostaglandin levels are increased
    • Enzyme levels are increased
      • These all cause a localized inflammatory reaction around the lesions
  • The peritoneal fluid can then act as a toxin to the embryo and/or can alter the normal function of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
www bioscience org books endomet end34 65 htm

Great website for FAQs of endometriosis

other pelvic conditions that deserve your attention
Other Pelvic Conditions that Deserve Your Attention
  • Uterine sarcoma (endometrial carcinoma)
  • Cervical carcinoma
  • Ovarian carcinoma
    • Hint: I often ask about risk factors and CA
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Uterine, vaginal prolapse