The cervix is an important part of the female reproductive system, and it plays a crucial role in pregnancy and childbirth. As a result, it’s important to understand how professionals check the cervix to ensure that it’s healthy and functioning properly. In this article, we will discuss the process of checking the cervix.
What is the Cervix?
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects the uterus to the vagina. It serves as the doorway between the uterus and the vagina. The cervix plays a key role in pregnancy and childbirth, as it begins to thin out and open up during labor to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal.
Why is it Important to Check the Cervix?
Checking the cervix is a routine part of a pelvic exam, and it’s an important way to monitor a woman’s reproductive health. Doctors can check the cervix to ensure that it’s healthy, and to look for any signs of infection, abnormalities, or other issues. In addition, checking the cervix can help to evaluate fertility, and it’s a key step in monitoring pregnancies.
Types of Exams that Check the Cervix
One of the most common tests that checks the cervix is a Pap smear. During a Pap smear, a healthcare provider collects cell samples from the cervix with a small scraper or brush. These samples are then sent to a lab for testing to check for any signs of abnormal cells, which could indicate cervical cancer.
During a speculum exam, a doctor or other healthcare provider will insert a speculum (a tool that looks like a small, metal duck bill) into the vagina. The speculum is then opened to allow the doctor to see the cervix. This allows the doctor to check the cervix for any abnormalities or signs of infection.
How Do Doctors Check the Cervix?
During a pelvic exam, a doctor or other healthcare provider will check the cervix to ensure that it’s healthy.
The first step in checking the cervix is a visual inspection. The doctor will use a speculum to open the vagina and expose the cervix. The doctor will look at the cervix to ensure that it appears healthy, and will look for any signs of infection or abnormalities.
The second step is a manual examination. The doctor will insert one or two fingers into the vagina and press down on the lower abdomen with the other hand. This allows the doctor to feel the cervix and check its size, shape, and positioning. The doctor can also feel for any unusual lumps or bumps that could indicate a problem.
What does Checking the Cervix Feel Like?
Checking the cervix can be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. Some women may experience mild discomfort or cramping during the exam, but this is normal.
When is it Necessary to Check the Cervix?
There are several situations in which it may be necessary to check the cervix:
- During routine gynecological exams
- When evaluating fertility
- During pregnancy
- To evaluate abnormal Pap smear results
- When monitoring cervical cancer
What Does It Mean When Your Cervix is ‘Closed’?
Your cervix can be described as ‘open’ or ‘closed’, depending on whether or not the opening is dilated. During pregnancy, the cervix begins to thin out and open up in preparation for labor. Prior to labor, the cervix is typically closed. If the cervix is open when a woman is not in labor, it could be a sign of a problem, such as an incompetent cervix.
What Happens After the Cervix is Checked?
After the cervix has been checked, the doctor will discuss the results with the patient. If there are any concerns or abnormalities, the doctor may order additional tests or procedures to address the issue.
Checking the cervix is an important part of monitoring women’s reproductive health. By understanding the process of checking the cervix, women can be better prepared for routine gynecological exams, pregnancy, and other situations in which the cervix needs to be evaluated.
Common Questions and Answers
- How often do I need to get my cervix checked? Women should get routine gynecological exams every year, which typically include a cervical check.
- Does checking the cervix hurt? Checking the cervix can be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. Some women may experience mild cramping or discomfort during the exam.
- What does it mean if my cervix is tilted? A tilted cervix is a common variation in anatomy, and it typically does not cause any problems.
- Can checking the cervix cause a miscarriage? Checking the cervix is safe during pregnancy and typically does not increase the risk of miscarriage.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2020). Cervical Cancer Screening. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/womens-health/cervical-cancer-screening
- Mayo Clinic. (2020). Pap smear. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/about/pac-20394841
- WebMD. (2020). What Is a Cervical Exam? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/cervical-exam#1