Student Health Center

Annual Gyn examination

What is a gyn examination?

An annual gynecologic (gyn) exam assesses a woman's general health with a focus on the breasts and pelvic reproductive organs (uterus and ovaries). It is also an opportunity to ask questions about a variety of women's health concerns.

A pelvic exam is done to:

  • Check the health of the reproductive organs
  • Screen for cervical cancer with a test called a Pap Test starting at age 21
  • Check for vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections (STI's)

When should I have an exam?

The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology recommends the first pap smear at age 21. Besides routine checkups, you should have a pelvic exam if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Heavy vaginal discharge that itches, burns or smells unusual
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • Painful intercourse
  • Menstrual cramps that cause you to miss work or school

How do I schedule an exam?

Call the SHC or come in person to schedule a gyn examination. Please let the scheduler know if this is your first exam. Also, make sure to indicate if you have specific issues or concerns to address at the time of the appointment. Knowing if you need birth control or an infection check will assist the scheduler in allocating sufficient time for the visit. If scheduling in person, you will be given a Women's Health History form to complete and bring with you to your appointment. If you schedule via phone, please come into the Center 15 minutes prior to your appointment to complete the form.

Appointment tips:

  • Schedule the exam for a day you will not be having your period. Menstrual bleeding can interfere with the results of the Pap test.
  • Write down any questions you have so you won't forget to ask them
  • Don't have sexual intercourse, douche or use vaginal preparations for 24-48 hours before your exam. These can interfere with the Pap test results.
  • Know the date your most recent menstrual period started and how long it lasted.

What happens during the appointment?

Initially, the provider will ask you the reason for the visit and review
your Women's Health History Form with you. You will be asked about
your periods, medical history, sexual history and other health
information. As with all other health information at the SHC, this is
completely confidential.

The exam includes:

  • Weight, height & waist measurement
  • Blood pressure check
  • Breast exam and review of breast self exam
  • Examination of the heart, lungs, thyroid gland, and abdomen
  • Pelvic examination which includes: an examination of the external genitalia, a speculum exam to visualize the vagina and cervix, and a bimanual (two hands) exam to check the uterus and ovaries.
During the speculum exam you may have a Pap test done and/or tests for STI's depending on the reason for the visit.

What is a Pap Test?

The Pap Test is a screening test for signs of cervical cancer, or abnormal cells that have the potential to turn into cancer in the future. To do the test the provider gently swabs a sample of cells from the cervix, places them in a liquid medium and then sends this to outside laboratory for microscopic review. The Women's Health provider will notify you of your results and any necessary follow-up. A Pap Test is recommended for most women every 2-3 years starting at age 21. Your provider will inform you if yours should be done at different intervals.

Is there a cost involved?

The women's health exam is covered by the quarterly SHC fee. Part time, graduate and coop students may opt to pay a per visit fee for service. There is a charge for tests sent to an outside laboratory (Pap test, some STI tests). You may opt to be billed directly or have the bill sent to your insurance company.  Please bring your insurance card with you to your visit. 

For additional information call the SHC.

Also see Planned Parenthood.


One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603
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