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What is the speculum?

A speculum, a vital instrument in gynecological examinations, plays a crucial role in women's health care. In the Philippines, where less than 1% of women undergo routine check-ups, understanding the significance of this device becomes paramount.

This medical tool facilitates the examination of hollow openings in the body, such as the vagina, providing healthcare providers with essential insights into reproductive health. Specifically, the vaginal speculum utilized during pelvic exams and Pap smears enables providers to assess vaginal and cervical health, crucial for early detection of abnormalities.

What does a speculum look like?

The speculum, commonly known for its duckbill-like appearance, gently widens the vaginal walls, allowing for a clear view of the vaginal canal and cervix. This device is pivotal in detecting abnormal growths, obtaining fluid samples for testing, and performing certain gynecological procedures. Available in stainless steel or plastic variants, some models even feature built-in lights to enhance visibility during examinations.

steel speculum
There are different sizes and different materials.

plastic speculum
The speculum can be uncomfortable, but try to sit on your back and relax.

Ensuring Safety and Comfort

Let's tackle some common concern! The procedure is safe when performed correctly.

  • Healthcare providers sterilize the speculum before use to prevent bacterial infection, ensuring a safe examination environment.

  • any temporary widening of the vaginal walls during the exam is normal and should not cause long-term discomfort.

  • Communication with your healthcare provider about any pain or discomfort experienced during the procedure is essential, as they can adjust techniques to minimize discomfort.

  • Wear comfortable clothes as you will need to undress.

  • Don't douche ond avoid intercourse for at least 2 days prior.


Despite initial discomfort or fear, such examinations are essential for maintaining reproductive health and detecting potential concerns early. By fostering open communication and collaboration between patients and healthcare providers, individuals can navigate these examinations comfortably and confidently, prioritizing their overall well-being.

If you have questions about your first pap smear test or not sure about your results, and want to speak to someone, book a session with one of our trusted OBGYN experts. We are offering a free introductory consultation, to answer any questions you may have with our doctors in a confidential setting.


Hati Health is a digital platform for women, providing on-demand access to products and services, including telehealth, symptom checking, holistic wellness plans and education.

We believe that being able to talk openly about women's healthcare and bringing appropriate solutions will inspire women to achieve their fullest potential in their personal and professional lives.

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