Vaginal Self-Examination (VSE)
How It Is Done
Take off your clothes below the waist. Have the mirror and flashlight where you can easily reach them. Wash your hands. Sit on the floor, a bed, or a couch and support your back with pillows. Bend your knees, place your feet near your bottom, lean slightly backward, and spread your knees apart so your genital area can be seen.
Hold or prop the mirror in front of your genital area. Look at the:
- Outer and inner fleshy lips of the vulva (called the labia).
- Bump of tissue covered by a hood of skin at the front of the labia (called the clitoris). The clitoris is the main area that is stimulated during sexual activity.
- Opening of the Reference urethra Opens New Window where urine drains from your body.
- Opening of the vagina.
- Opening of the Reference anus Opens New Window.
Have the light reflect off the mirror so you can clearly see your vaginal area. Then use your fingers to spread apart the vaginal lips. Adjust the light and mirror until you can see into the vagina. You should be able to see the reddish pink walls of the vagina, which have small folds or ridges known as rugae.
Look at your vaginal discharge. A normal discharge usually is clear to cloudy white, smells slightly acidic (like vinegar), may be thick or thin, and changes a little throughout the menstrual cycle. For more information, see the topic Reference Fertility Awareness.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 28, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology