University Health Service

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Who should have a routine women's health exam?

All women age 21 or older should have an annual routine women's health exam, which may include a pelvic exam and a Pap test. 

Process at UHS:

After you complete a medical history sheet, a nurse will escort you to an exam room to take your blood pressure, height, weight and pulse and review your history form. You will be left alone to remove your clothes and put on a gown.

A clinician will arrive. Discuss any concerns or any specific requests with your clinician before the exam. Some tests can be easily completed during the exam.

The clinician will begin a general physical exam, which includes listening to your lungs and heart, feeling your thyroid gland and checking your breasts and abdominal organs. Based on your age and medical history, the clinician will determine whether you need a pelvic exam and screening for sexually transmitted infections.

During the pelvic exam, the clinician will examine your external genitalia and insert a speculum into your vagina in order to examine your vaginal walls and cervix. The speculum may be a bit uncomfortable but shouldn't hurt. Relaxing your pelvic muscles can help. At this time, any necessary tests will be taken (for example, Pap test).

During a Pap test, cells are taken from the cervix and examined under a microscope. Results will show if the cells are affected by the human papilloma virus (HPV), including whether there are any precancerous or cancerous changes. See Pap Tests and HPV for more information.

Next, the speculum is removed and a bimanual exam is performed. The clinician inserts one or two fingers into the vagina and/or rectum to evaluate the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other internal structures.

How to schedule an appointment:

Call UHS at 734-764-8320 and explain that you are interested in a routine women's health exam. To allow enough time, inform the scheduler:

  • If you have any health problems or conditions that you would like to be addressed
  • If you are interested in testing for sexually transmitted infections
  • Whether you are interested in a method of birth control and which type, if known
  • If you need any forms completed and how many pages

Before your appointment:

If you've had a previous abnormal Pap test with an outside provider, it is helpful to obtain records and bring them to your appointment. 

Do not douche or use vaginal medication for two days before the exam.

Do not have intercourse or use a tampon for one day before the exam.

Please schedule your exam for when you are not menstruating or when menstrual flow is very light.

If you cannot keep your appointment, please cancel at least 24 hours ahead. Failure to do so may result in a broken appointment fee. Call 734-763-3557 to cancel.

Plan to arrive 10 minutes before your appointment time, in the clinic where your appointment has been scheduled. You will be asked to complete a medical history form that includes current medications with doses.

If you have questions about any of these instructions, call the Women's Health Clinic at 734-763-9184.

Medical reports can be faxed from other clinics to UHS at 734-936-3063.

How to receive a prescription method of contraception:

An appointment is required to receive a prescription method of contraception at UHS -- see Schedule an Appointment. A physical exam is not required to get a prescription for contraception, except for IUD and diaphragm. Recommendation for a routine women's health exam, STI assessment and Pap test will be tailored to the patient's needs.

If you have a prescription elsewhere and would like to have it filled at the UHS Pharmacy, have your prescription transferred by calling 734-764-7387. Pharmacy staff will ask you for information about your current prescription. 

Prescription methods available at UHS include:

  • Implant
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD)
  • Shot (Depo Provera)
  • Oral contraceptive pills (the pill)
  • Patch
  • Vaginal Ring
  • Diaphragm

If you are interested in using a prescription method for the first time, or want to learn about your contraceptive options, you can use these interactive online programs:

Test results:

Results will not be available immediately. Your clinician will contact you only if test results (e.g. Pap test) are abnormal. 

Further information:

UHS offers medical advice by phone day and night. This may save a trip to UHS, the ER or an urgent care facility. See Medical Advice by Phone.