Your Guide To Sensitive Exams
What is a sensitive exam?
A sensitive exam is a physical examination of your breast, genitalia, or rectum conducted by a medical provider. The following are types of sensitive exams and why they might be done.
Clinical breast exams check for breast cancer or other breast problems.
Pelvic Exams are done to diagnose conditions of the abdomen and pelvis, such as pain or infections. Pelvic Exams may include visual inspection of the external and internal anatomy, insertion of a cotton swab or speculum, and/or a vaginal or rectal exam with the gloved fingers of one hand inserted and the second hand on the abdomen to feel the ovaries, cervix, and uterus.
Pubic/groin region and hernia exams are done for symptoms such as pain, lumps, rashes, or lesions, and check for hernia, inflammation, or infection.
Penile exams are done for symptoms such as pain with urination, rashes, sores or discharge from the penis and to check for infection. Samples may be collected from the skin with your consent.
Rectal exams are done to diagnose symptoms such as pain, bloody stools, hemorrhoids, infections, sores, or lesions. Rectal exams may include a visual exam and an internal exam with a gloved finger inserted into the anus or an internal exam with an anoscope.
Chaperones for Sensitive Exams & Procedures
Some medical exams and procedures (such as breast and genital exams) can create mild anxiety or discomfort. Not everyone responds the same during exams like this, but the CSULB Student Health Services wants to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.
In order to ensure your comfort, we provide trained healthcare assistants to be available during these types of sensitive exams.
You Are In Charge
Your medical provider will explain what to expect in the exam and why they recommend the exam to be done. You will always be in charge before and during the exam. A trained healthcare assistant will be in the room with you and your provider during a sensitive exam. You can also request an assistant of a specific gender. You can ask questions at any time. You can also say no and withdraw consent at any time if you are uncomfortable.
Your Medical History
Your medical provider may respectfully and non-judgmentally ask you personal questions in order to establish your general, sexual, and reproductive health history. These questions help to identify possible risk factors that can undermine your wellness. Your medical provider may give you education and recommendations to help you improve your health and wellness.
General medical questions include exercise, smoking, alcohol/drug use, allergies, medications, and family health history. Sexual and reproductive health questions may be about your menstrual periods, number of sex partners, types of sex you engage in (anal, vaginal, oral), gender identity of partners, use of condoms/barriers, safer sex methods, sexually transmitted infection (STI) history, and birth control methods used if at risk for pregnancy.
If you have any questions or concerns about your visit, please call 562.985.4771 and ask to speak to the manager in charge.
Remember, YOU ARE IN CHARGE!
You are in charge before and during your exam.
You can say YES or NO.
You can ask any and all questions.
You will be treated with dignity and respect!
Adapted from CSUN, UCLA and USC Sensitive Health Exams and procedures, 2019.