Gynecologic exams provide important information that helps you and your provider understand your personal health and wellness needs. At UChicago Medicine, we prioritize listening to our patients and providing state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatments. Our team has the skills and expertise to manage — and when possible, solve — even the most complicated obstetric and gynecologic health problems.

What to Expect from Your Gynecological Exam

As breakthroughs in women’s health research continue, new guidelines are emerging for when a woman should schedule her wellness check-up and what that visit should involve. Our experts can discuss with you your best approach to preventative care and whether that involves yearly well woman visits.

Based on your age and health history, your gynecologist may want to emphasize certain preventive exams and screening tests over others during your well woman visit.

Pap Smear

A long plastic brush is used to collect cell samples from your cervix. Pap tests can detect cancer, HPV (human papilloma virus) infection or abnormalities that may lead to cancer.

Abnormal Pap Smear Results

If you’ve received abnormal, or "positive" Pap smear test results, your doctor may want to schedule a colposcopy, a procedure in which your doctor uses a special microscope to examine the vulva, vagina and cervix. During this procedure, physicians may take a tissue biopsy if they detect cells that could be abnormal, precancerous or cancerous. UChicago Medicine gynecologists are highly trained in colposcopic procedures, and can help you understand your biopsy results and whether further treatment is recommended.

Breast Exam

Your physician will use his or her hands to check for abnormalities like lumps in your breasts, underarms and collarbone areas, and may also order a mammogram.

Pelvic Exam

After checking for abnormalities on your vulva and vaginal opening, your physician will use his or her hands to check your uterus and ovaries for any abnormalities. A speculum exam will usually also be conducted at this point to evaluate the cervix and vagina.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing

Depending on your symptoms (remembering that some STDs have no symptoms), you may be asked for a blood or urine sample, or to undergo a physical exam. Your gynecologist or midwife may also swab samples of vaginal discharge for testing.

Certain symptoms could be signs of a gynecologic condition, warranting examination by your gynecologist or midwife, including:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic and vulvar pain
  • Vaginal irritation, such as burning, itching, redness or swelling
  • Vaginal odor

If you are experiencing symptoms, do not wait for your next well woman visit. Schedule a general gynecology appointment to see one our specialists who can evaluate your symptoms and provide or help connect you with the care you need.

At UChicago Medicine, we understand that effective care starts with an accurate diagnosis. Our women’s health experts use the most innovative diagnostic tools and treatment approaches to provide exceptional care for common and complex gynecologic disorders.

We encourage you to feel comfortable seeking guidance from our women’s health experts about any medical concerns and questions. If we can’t help you, we can likely connect you with other UChicago Medicine specialists who can.

A well woman visit is also an excellent opportunity for your gynecologist or midwife to discuss:

Our experts are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of gynecological illnesses and conditions. For your convenience and comfort, UChicago Medicine offers several office-based gynecologic procedures, including:

Office-based procedures do not require hospitalization. Benefits include returning home shortly after a quick procedure, with no surgical incisions and minimal recovery time.

Refer a Patient

Physicians, to schedule a patient, contact our women's health team at 773-702-6118 or womenshealth@uchospitals.edu.

Meet Our Gynecology Team

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