Reproductive Health Screenings

Disease: Advocacy

Pelvic Exam

For all women, pelvic exams are important to check for infections and different conditions. During a pelvic exam, the doctor will manually and visually examine one's vulva, vagina, cervix, pelvis (including ovaries), uterus, and rectum. The exam is normally short, when checking one's pelvis the doctor will feel for masses, growths, or abnormalities. A pap test may be included during the pelvic exam. A pap test screens for cervical cancer. Pelvic exams can be arranged through your doctor or gynecologist. They can also be performed at your local Planned Parenthood for $100-250. If you cannot afford the exam, the U.S. Department of Health & Human services provided federally funded clinics.

When do I get an Exam?

Many doctors recommend that women older that 21 should partake in an exam once a year. However if you are experiencing one or more of the following make an appointment with your doctor sooner:
  • Excessive discharge
  • Lower stomach pain
  • Have not started period at age 15
  • Menstrual bleeding lasts more than ten days
  • Missing periods (especially if having sex)
  • Very painful menstrual cramps resulting in missing school or work
  • Skin changes
  • Urinary problems
An exam can determine if your symptoms need diagnostic testing or treatment. No matter if you are sexually active or your age, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above see your doctor immediately.


Male vs Female Doctors

  • About 45% prefer to be examined by female doctors
  • About 4.2% prefer to be examined by male doctors
  • The remaining 53% do not have a preference

Miranda, Aurora M., MD, FACOG. "Pelvic Examination." MedScape. 01 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Prostate Exam

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland under the bladder. The greatest risk of cancer for men is in the prostate. According to the American Cancer Society, one in six men will be diagnosed with cancer. Following lung cancer, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men. Prostate cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat if diagnosed early. If the cancer is identified at an early stage, more than 90 percent of men survive. That is why it's so important to get examined regularly. Prostate exams can be done by your physician or at your local clinic by appointment.

"Survival Rate for Prostate Cancer." American Cancer Society. 3 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

When Should I get an Exam?

At 40, men should consult their doctor to discuss prostate exams. If your family has prostate cancer history or you are of African American descent, starting at 45 you should schedule to have a digital rectal exam (DRE) and PSA test every year. For other men, starting at 55 should get a DRE and PSA test every year. From the ages of 76-85, it is up to the patient's discretion whether they wish to continue testing. After 85, it is not recommended to be screened. Contact your doctor if any of the symptoms occur:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased urine stream
  • Blood in semen
  • Discomfort in pelvic area
  • Bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction


Other Citations

"Your First Pelvic Exam." Center for Young Women's Health. 7 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Pelvic Exam." Mayo Clinic. 9 May 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

"Pelvic Exam Cost." CostHelper. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Espat, Adelina. "Men: Cancer Screening Exams by Age." MD Anderson Cancer Center. Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Prostate Cancer Symptoms." Mayo Clinic. 03 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Skler, Geoffrey, MD. "The Importance of a Prostate Exam." University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

My sources are reliable, most of the sources are recently published or updated. The authors are doctors or are part of a renown clinic and/or highly reliable scholar. A reliable website lists their sources and/or endorsed by a professional organization. The articles I cited are not bias and do not contain evidence of the author's opinion.