Sexual Health Exams

three young women talking

Annual sexual health exams for a vagina, cervix, uterus and more

Here is what to expect during your annual exam at our clinics.

Make an appointment, or read more about what to bring to your appointment.

What should I know before an exam?

Don’t put anything in the vagina for 48 hours before the exam (contraceptive jellies/foams (spermicides), douching, sex)

Pap tests are not recommended during your period. A mid-cycle test is best.

You will be asked the date of when your last menstrual period (lmp) began.

Who is in the room during exams?

You are welcome to bring a friend, partner or parent for any part of your exam. We have both male and female doctors; male doctors have trained female assistants in the room during exams.

Medical and sexual history

The doctor will need to assess your sexually transmitted infection risks, sexual health, and risk factors for any birth control you are using, and may ask you about:

  • your sexual history
  • family medical history
  • existing medical conditions or medication
  • birth control you are using (if applicable)

The doctor will also take your blood pressure and listen to your heart.

Breast exam

If you like, the doctor will examine your breasts and show you how to do a breast self-exam.

Pelvic exam (internal exam) including a pap exam

A pelvic exam is an internal exam intended to ensure that your sexual and reproductive organs (including labia, vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries) are healthy and normal. Usually, a pelvic exam includes screening for cervical cancer (Pap test) as well as sexually transmitted and vaginal infections.

You will have privacy while you get undressed from the waist down. The doctor will ask you to lie on the exam table and cover yourself with a paper drape and put your legs up in the foot rests at the bottom of the table. The Doctor or nurse will return to the room when you’re ready to proceed with the exam.

Taking deep breathes and letting your knees flop wide apart can help relax your muscles and make the exam more comfortable.

The pelvic exam takes about 3 – 5 minutes.

  • Wearing gloves, the doctor/nurse will first look at and touch your outer vulva area to check for infection or sores.
  • Next, the doctor/nurse will gently insert a plastic speculum (a special tool used to hold your vagina open) for the internal exam. It may feel uncomfortable at first but it won’t be painful.
  • The doctor/nurse will use a wooden Pap stick (like a small tongue depressor) to collect some cells for the Pap test, which checks for early cell changes that could lead to cervical cancer.
  • The doctor/nurse will use a swab (like a Q-tip) and collect some cells for chlamydia and gonorrhea tests (all ISHS clinics include these tests, but it is not standard everywhere).
  • The doctor/nurse will then gently remove the speculum and throw it away.
  •  The doctor/nurse will insert two gloved fingers into your vagina and with the other hand will press down on your abdomen to check your ovaries and uterus, to make sure they are a normal size and that you are not in any pain or discomfort. This is called a bimanual exam.

That’s it!  The doctor/nurse and assistant will leave the room while you get dressed.

The results of your exam and infection tests will be kept in your file. We recommend scheduling a follow up appointment for 8 weeks after the test was performed to review your results.

If you have a cervix, BC Cancer Agency recommends that you should start having annual Pap tests at age 21 or approx. 3 years after first sexual contact with any gender, whichever occurs first. You should continue with PAP testing even if you don’t have sex anymore.

Full infection screening on request

We recommend that everyone have a complete screening for sexually transmitted infections with your annual exam, unless you decline based on low risk.

Please note: If you get testing done, we require you to book a followup appointment to get your results. We will not give out test results over the phone.

Your questions

You will have time to ask the doctor questions if you would like. You may wish to write down questions ahead of time so you don’t forget. You are always welcome to book another appointment if you have additional questions.

 

Sexual health exams for a penis, testicles, scrotum, and more

At Island Sexual Health, our job is to give you up-to-date, clear information that helps you better understand your sexual and reproductive health.

Here is what to expect during your  exam at our clinics.

Make an appointment, or read more about what to bring to your appointment.

 

What should I know before an exam?

If you are wanting to have an exam, please ask the receptionist for an exam appointment so your appointment will be an appropriate length.

If you are wanting to be screened for STIs, please make sure you haven’t urinated for 2 hrs before your appointment so you can provide an sample.

Please bring all of your questions and concerns with you – the more information we have about you, the better care we can give you.

When you arrive to our clinic, you will be asked to complete a written health summary that asks questions about your health. It is not meant to be intrusive but to give the healthcare provider a clear picture of your health when they see you.

Who is in the room during exams?

You are welcome to bring a friend, partner or support person for any part of your exam. We have both male and female healthcare providers; if you have a preference in health care provider, you are welcome to specify when you book your appointment.

Medical and sexual history

 

The doctor will  assess your sexually transmitted infection risks, sexual health, and risk factors and may ask you about:

  • your sexual history (partners, types of sex you’re having)
  • family medical history
  • existing medical conditions or medication
  • safer sex methods (condoms, dams, gloves, birth control if appropriate)

The doctor or nurse will offer a genital examination including a testicular exam and may also look at your chest and hands. If you decline a physical exam, you can be tested for certain STIs.

Depending on the type of testing you are having,  we may have you provide us with a urine sample or send you to the lab with a requisition to be tested. Any swabs that are collected are sent to the lab from our clinics. We send all of our patients for blood testing to the lab with a requisition. To receive results of testing, you need to make a follow up appointment or make alternate arrangements to receive your results.

You should start having regular sexual health exams when you become sexually active, and should continue yearly even if you don’t have sex anymore. We recommend regular check-ups for males who are currently, and have been previously, sexually active. We recommend that everyone have a complete screening for sexually transmitted infections yearly or before each new partner. Generally, we recommend testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis.

 

Your questions

You will have time to ask the doctor questions if you would like. You may wish to write down questions ahead of time so you don’t forget. You are always welcome to book another appointment if you have additional questions.

Call us 250-592-3479 to make an appointment to get a sexual health check-up including sexually transmitted infection screening and genital exams at any of our clinics in Greater Victoria, BC.

All services are private and confidential.