How To Do A Cervical Self Exam

How Does It Benefit You?

  • Vaginal and cervical self-examination is one of the most useful health tools a woman can have.
  • It enables us to see a vital part of our anatomy which is hidden from plain view-the vagina and cervix (the neck of the uterus, which sits at the back of the vagina).
  • By using a speculum, you can observe changes in your cervix, secretions, the menstrual cycle and indications of fertility; you can identify and treat common vaginal conditions such as yeast, trichomonas or bacterial infections (which often cause itching or discharge); and you can learn what your cervix looks like day by day, rather than depending on a physician to look once a year to pronounce what is normal for you.
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To insert a plastic speculum, spread the inner lips of the clitoris with two fingers of one hand, hold the bills of the speculum tightly together with the thumb and index finger of the other and guide it into the vaginal canal. You can use a water-soluble jelly or just plain water to make insertion smoother. This woman is inserting her speculum with the handles up- right, but some women prefer to insert it sideways initially. Inserting the speculum with the handles down is strictly for the doctor's convenience, and it requires that a woman put her feet into stirrups at the end of an exam table.

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When the handles of the speculum are pinched together, they force the bills open, stretching the vaginal walls and revealing the cervix. With the handles held tightly together, the short handle slides down and the long handle slides up. When there is a sharp click the speculum is locked into place.

speculum_mirror

When the handles of the speculum are pinched together, they force the bills open, stretching the vaginal walls and revealing the cervix. With the handles held tightly together, the short handle slides down and the long handle slides up. When there is a sharp click the speculum is locked into place.

Click on the words below to view images of a woman's cervix.

19 year old woman

29 year old woman

46 year old woman

Order your own Speculum Kit or Speculum

Go to website Women's Health in Women's Hands to learn more about self-help.  Go to the Beautiful Cervix Project's website for more pictures of the cervix.

To purchase a copy of A New View of A Woman's Body, visit our shop books section.