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How does a gynecologist check for prolapse?

A gynecologist typically checks for pelvic prolapse by performing a physical examination of the pelvic, rectal, and urinary area. During the examination, the gynecologist will place a gloved, lubricated finger into the vagina in order to feel any areas of excessive weakness in the muscles of the pelvic floor.

If the gynecologist suspects a prolapse they will typically order an imaging study, such as an ultrasound, to further evaluate the condition. This imaging study will help the doctor to determine the type and cause of the prolapse and create a personalized treatment plan.

With the prolapse confirmed, the gynecologist can then perform other diagnostics tests to determine the presence of any other conditions such as urinary incontinence. If these tests confirm the diagnosis, treatments such as physical therapy, medications, and surgery may be recommended and discussed with the patient.

How do doctors diagnose a prolapse?

Doctors typically diagnose a prolapse by performing a physical examination. During the physical examination, the doctor examines the external area, feels for any abnormal bulges or gaps in the muscles surrounding the pelvic organs, and inspects the internal area for any displacement of organs in the abdomen.

Other tests that may be conducted to diagnose a prolapse include imaging such as X-rays, ultrasound, or an MRI, or a urodynamic examination. A urodynamic examination measures the bladder capacity, pressure, and other factors to help determine the cause of any urinary problems.

If the prolapse is causing problems with incontinence, the doctor may order a cystoscopy in which the doctor places a thin tube into the bladder to check the internal area of the bladder. The doctor may also order laboratory tests to check hormone levels and rule out any possible causes.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor can look into treatments to help improve the prolapse depending on the cause and severity.

Can a prolapse be seen during a Pap smear?

No, a prolapse cannot be seen during a Pap smear. A Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, is a screening test that looks at the cells in the cervix and vagina to check for any abnormal changes that could indicate cervical cancer or precancerous cells.

During the Pap test, a health care provider will use a brush to collect cells from the cervix and vagina. These cells are then examined under a microscope for any changes. A prolapse, which is a condition where the uterus falls into the birth canal, cannot be seen during a Pap smear because it is not the focus of the test.

A healthcare provider will be able to diagnose a prolapse after asking the patient about her symptoms and conducting a physical examination.