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Internal examinations – easier than you think

Internal examinations – easier than you think

An internal examination is a check of the health of a woman’s internal organs.

In addition, many abnormalities occur in the pelvic floor. An internal examination can also check for cervical cancer, which is a cancer found in many Thai women as well.

Internal examination is one of the essentials of women’s health examinations. Therefore, do not hesitate to go for an internal examination. Do not let shyness and fear prevent you from receiving this important treatment.

“Who should go for an internal examination?”

Women of all ages with disorders of the pelvic floor and reproductive organs should consult an obstetrician to receive treatment. These disorders can include abnormal bleeding from the vagina that does not match the menstrual cycle, abdominal pain, unusual menstrual cramps, abnormal vaginal discharge, palpation found in the abdomen, and genital lesions. In some cases, a diagnosis can be found just by asking about family medical history and providing a general physical examination. Women who do not have any abnormalities should be tested at least once a year to check if they have cervical cancer or abnormalities in the pelvic organs.

How to prepare for an internal examination :

In the case of unusual symptoms, you can consult an obstetrician to receive treatment without any special preparation. Obstetricians often ask about the history of menstruation and use of various medications. If you worry you might not remember, write this information down before coming to see the doctor. In the case of an internal examination for annual health check, there are the following recommendations:

  • You should book an internal examination after your menstrual period is complete or at least 1 week before your next menstruation.
  • You should refrain from having sex, using vaginal suppositories, or vaginal rinsing for about 2 days before your internal examination.
  • In postmenopausal women or women who take birth control pills, there is no menstrual period. You can come to receive an internal examination at any time.

Important steps on the day of your internal examination

After the doctor asked you about your medical history, there may be a need to perform an internal examination to get a diagnosis.  The doctor will allow you to go to the bathroom to get all the urine out before performing the internal examination so that the most accurate results are achieved and so you will not feel any discomfort in the bladder when the doctor presses the abdomen. If you have vaginal discharge, there is no need to rinse off because doctors must observe the appearance of vaginal discharge to help diagnose disease. After that, the doctor will ask you to get onto the internal examination bed. The examination room is completely covered and private -only you, your doctor and a medical assistant will be present. The doctor will insert an internal examination tool shaped like a duck bill into the vagina to check for cervical cancer at this stage. After that, the doctor will remove the instrument and insert a finger to check inside. This procedure is performed to check for abnormalities of the uterus, ovaries, and neighboring organs.

When the doctor has finished the internal examination, you will be able to dress and listen to the results of the internal examination. However, cervical cancer examination results take about 1-2 weeks. Some hospitals may phone to inform you of the results, while some hospitals may send the results by mail.

Does an internal examination hurt?

The internal examination requires insertion of a duck bill-like instrument into the vagina. This stage may cause minor discomfort, but often takes a short time and the doctor will choose the size of the tool to suit each woman.  Even women who are single or have never had sex can receive such tests.

How often should I go for an internal examination?

Usually, women who do not have any health problems should have an internal examination and cervical cancer check once a year, starting 3 years from the first sexual intercourse. Women who are not sexually active should start checking at the age of 30 years. However, women who display the symptoms mentioned above should consult a doctor for an internal examination immediately. Following the initial examination, the doctor may need to check periodically after treatment.

When can I stop having internal examinations?

Women who have undergone hysterectomy and ovarian surgery due to normal tumors may not have to come for an internal examination again. If you do not have any abnormal symptoms but if you are undergoing surgery due to necrosis or cancer, or have abnormal pre-cancerous cells, you should not stop having internal examinations because doctors must monitor the recurrence of these diseases.

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