Intimate examination

A well woman examination is an exam offered to women to review elements of their reproductive health. It is recommended once a year for most women. The exam includes a breast examination, a pelvic examination and a pap smear but may also include other procedures. Such examinations can cause patients stress or embarrassment. Hospitals therefore employ strict policies relating to the provision of consent by the patient, the availability of chaperones at the examination, and the absence of other parties.

Most healthcare providers also allow the patient to specify if they have any preferences towards the examiner’s gender. This is done not only to avoid potential embarrassment of having an intimate exam handled by a male, but to also help ensure an environment where the patient feels important questions about her sexual health can be answered truthfully.