The “dreaded” Speculum Exam


If you’re the kind of gal who avoids going to the gyno because you’re afraid of the torture device known as a speculum, you’re not alone. But did you know that it SHOULDN’T HURT to have a speculum placed??

It’s a common misconception that the speculum exam is supposed to hurt. Gynecologists are expertly trained to place a speculum, with as little discomfort as possible. Now I’m not saying you should ENJOY this part of the exam, but it really shouldn’t HURT.


If you’re afraid of the speculum exam, it’s possible that you’re also avoiding other things going inside your vagina. I’m not suggesting to try placing all of these in the vagina, and certainly not all at the same time…that might lead to an ER visit. None-the-less, it really shouldn’t hurt to place any of the following in to your vagina:

1. A penis

2. Your fingers

3. A tampon

4. Any type of normally sized sexual toy (now work with me here, if it’s marked XL…just don’t go there)

5. The speculum


I’m about to start a blog series on everything that causes pain in the vagina, including pain with insertion of a speculum, and pain with sex… We’ll do an overview first about types of pain, and what may be causing it and then dive into the nitty-gritty of each of them in subsequent posts.

If you’ve got pain with insertion of any of the above items and are just dying to know what the problem is before I blog about your particular situation, please make an appointment to see me here: Nurture Women’s Health, Dr. Stoehr. Otherwise, keep reading. It’s going to be an entertaining series!




Dr. Angie Stoehr, MD is a Pelvic and Intimate Pain specialist who provides care to women experiencing any type of pain from the belly button to the mid-thigh, front and back. She obtained her medical degree at Creighton University in Omaha, NE, and residency degree at St Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT.

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