Q:

What does a physical exam consist of for females?

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Quick Answer

During a physical exam, women undergo an inspection of their genitalia, which includes a Pap smear, a visual scan of the vagina, vulva and nipples, and a physical search for lumps in the breast tissues, according to WebMD. Doctors also test their blood, urine and vital signs.

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Pap smears and human papillomavirus tests screen for the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix, which may indicate the existence or risk of developing cervical cancer, as noted by WebMD. A woman's physical examination of her breasts is conducted by feeling around the breast tissue and the surrounding lymph nodes in the underarms to detect the presence of lumps or enlarged lymph glands. The appearance of the nipples is also analyzed to rule out any signs of breast cancer.

In addition to these exams, a nurse takes note of a woman's weight, height, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiration rate. A doctor is likely to use a stethoscope to listen to a woman's lungs and heartbeat to rule out any congestion or heart defects. A doctor should perform various additional tests to assess a woman's neurological and sensory functioning, according to WebMD. Women should also have their abdomens analyzed to test for enlarged organs, and they should undergo an examination of their throat, eyes, ears, thyroid, tonsils, teeth, tongue, sinuses and carotid artery.

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