What is a Vaginal Speculum?

Overview

A vaginal speculum is a tool that doctors use during pelvic exams. Made of metal or plastic, it’s hinged and shaped like a duck’s bill. Your doctor inserts the speculum into your vagina and gently opens it during your exam.

Speculums come in different sizes. Your doctor will choose the size to use based on your age and the length and width of your vagina.

How is it used?

Doctors use vaginal speculums to spread and hold open your vaginal walls during an exam. This allows them to see your vagina and cervix more easily. Without the speculum, your doctor won’t be able to do a comprehensive pelvic exam.

What to expect during a pelvic exam

A pelvic exam helps your doctor assess the health of your reproductive system. It can also help diagnose any conditions or problems. Pelvic exams are often done along with other medical exams, including breast, abdominal, and back exams.

Your doctor will do a pelvic exam in an exam room. It usually only takes a few minutes. You’ll be asked to change into a gown and they may give you a sheet to wrap around your lower body.

During the exam, your doctor will first do an external exam to look at the outside of your vagina for any signs of a problem, such as:


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