The Politics of the Pelvic Exam: Practicing Applied Feminism

This is a great post about doing pelvic exams. I’m saving this for later and sharing the most important quote from the entire piece:

“A few months ago I was conducting a pelvic exam on a teenager, and it was her first exam. I absolutely love doing women’s first exams because studies show, unsurprisingly, that a woman’s first experience with a GYN health provider is likely to color her opinion of pelvics for the rest of her life, significantly impacting her follow-up and continued screening in the years to com.”

Sage Femme

Pelvic exams are really hard for a lot of people.

That statement should be self -evident, but I have had enough pelvics, and certainly conducted enough with other providers to know that not every midwife or physician truly understands this. Not just pays lip service to it, but truly understands how traumatizing and re-traumatizing the pelvic exam can be. For those of you with limited exposure to pelvics, or those of you who don’t have a vagina, I’ll provide you with the basics of what we do:

1) The external exam. Examine the external genitalia, make not of any sores, irritations or cysts. 

2) The internal exam, conducted with either a plastic or a metal speculum. This is how we look at the vaginal walls, look at discharge, and look at the cervix and take any samples we might need to take (i.e.: pap smear, wet prep, or STD testing…

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