5 Tests Gynecologists Perform and Their Purpose

There are different kinds of tests performed by gynecologists that you should familiarize yourself with because they help to assure your sexual and reproductive health. Don't miss out on this article that tells you more about each of these tests and their purpose.
5 Tests Gynecologists Perform and Their Purpose

Last update: 28 April, 2019

The tests gynecologists perform screen for diseases like cervical cancer and breast cancer that unfortunately affect many women. These screening tests help to check for the early signs of cervical and breast cancer and assess other aspects of your reproductive and sexual health.

The tests that gynecologists recommend can detect any suspicious or sudden changes in your vaginal area or your breasts. You should consult with your nurse practitioner, gynecologist, or any other kind of doctor you see for general medical treatment if you have concerns about your sexual and reproductive health.

They’ll be able to answer your questions and address any doubts you may have. They may even find it appropriate to order some of the tests described below.

Tests gynecologists perform

Pap smear

A Pap smear takes a sample of cells from the cervix. This test is carried out with your primary care doctor or gynecologist. It allows for the early detection of any anomalies. This is a common test that medical professionals use to screen for cervical cancer and it’s key to all the public health efforts to prevent the disease worldwide.

If they find any change in the cells, this can indicate the existence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that is the main cause of cervical cancer. The Pap smear lets doctors examine any changes very closely. This will allow early treatment if necessary before the disease advances.

To carry out the procedure, the doctor will ask you to lay down on a gynecological examination table. The doctor will place a speculum in the vagina in order to take samples. The laboratory will analyze the samples the doctor collected with different brushes.

This test doesn’t hurt. It may be a bit uncomfortable when the doctor inserts and adjusts the speculum, but this procedure is relatively quick and easy.

Today, in many parts of the world, the Pap smear test is performed on a broad age range of women as a part of their public health screening.

The Pap smear allows health professionals to detect any alterations or HPV infections before the patient experiences symptoms. For this reason, it’s important that you ask your health care center if you’re due for a Pap smear and gynecological exam. If you’re sexually active, you should carry out this test regularly.

You should have your doctor perform PAP smears regularly so the doctor can catch any changes and evaluate them early. Each country follows a different protocol so you should consult with a healthcare professional where you live.

5 Tests Gynecologists Perform and Their Purpose

Laboratory testing of vaginal discharge

Testing vaginal discharge, or collecting vaginal fluids is something your primary care doctors will collect during your physical examination.

This test is necessary when you noticed that your vaginal discharge has changed, especially in terms of odor, consistency, or quantity. This could indicate that you have a vaginal infection.  

To carry out this test you’ll also have to lay down on a gynecological examination table. After the doctor inserts the speculum, the doctor will examine you internally and take different samples with a swab. Afterward, they’ll send the samples to a lab for analysis.

Similar to the Pap smear, this test isn’t painful, it’s just the insertion of the speculum that can be somewhat uncomfortable. If you notice any changes in your vaginal discharge  you should consult with a medical professional. 

Tests gynecologists perform: Vaginal ultrasound

This test will be carried out by your gynecologist if they think it’s called for. This allows your doctor to check your uterus, your ovaries, and your fallopian tubes. The doctor performs a vaginal ultrasound with the patient lying down on a gynecological examination table.

They’ll carefully insert a long narrow wand into the vagina and produce images of the reproductive organs with the ultrasound.

Like the previous tests, this exam doesn’t hurt, although it can be uncomfortable because of the position. It’s a quick test that provides the doctor a lot of information. Tell your doctor if you experience any pain or you feel unwell or any aches in the pelvis.

Other tests gynecologists perform

Breast ultrasound

The breast ultrasound is another gynecological test that your gynecologist might order if necessary.  This allows the doctor to examine the breast tissue. It’s suitable fundamentally for younger women because as a woman ages, the mammogram is more accurate and produces more reliable results.

Remember to perform a breast self-exam periodically and to consult with your doctor or health professional if you notice any changes in your breasts such as lumps, orange peel-like skin, or discharge from your nipples.


Like the Pap smear, mammograms are screening procedures that are carried out and recommended in many countries for women beginning at a certain age. Consult with your health center when you should start to be screened using a mammogram.

Because it’s a screening test, patients are usually not experiencing any symptoms. It allows doctors to note any potential anomalies and unusual growths in the breasts. A doctor might also recommend a mammogram for other reasons.

A technician who specializes in this kind of radiology performs the mammogram. A mammographic device is used to take various x-rays of your breasts so doctors can assess their internal structure.

5 Tests Gynecologists Perform and Their Purpose

The mammogram process can cause some discomfort because the device has to apply pressure to the breasts. This is done so that the x-rays capture all the tissue and different angles of the breast. But the technicians are generally good at putting the patient at ease and performing the procedure quickly.

Detecting any breast changes early can go a long way to safeguarding your general health. You and your doctors can then act so any potential disease has less chance to advance.

If you notice any changes in your breasts, whether it’s in terms of color, the texture of the skin, lumps, or secretions, you should have no reservations about consulting with your doctor.

In conclusion…

Remember that there are different tests that gynecologists recommend women to undergo once they’re sexually active or they reach an age where breast cancer and other diseases are more common. Consult with your medical center to find out if you’re due to start periodically having these screening tests. 



All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Arroyo Yustos, M., Martín Angulo, M., & Álvarez-Mon Soto, M. (2017). Cáncer de mama. Medicine (Spain). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.med.2017.05.001
  • Ibarrola Vidaurre, M., Benito, J., Azcona, B., & Zubeldía, N. (2009). Patología infecciosa: Vulvovaginitis, enfermedades de transmisión sexual, enfermedad inflamatoria pélvica, abscesos tubo-ováricos. Anales Del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.