Definition - What does Speculum mean?

A speculum is a medical tool used during pelvic exams or testing to examine the vagina and cervix. It is commonly used during a Pap smear test, where cervical cells are removed for examination. The tool is also used during fertility treatments to access the cervical canal or uterine cavity.

FertilitySmarts explains Speculum

A speculum allows for direct entry to the inner vagina and cervix. It does so by spreading the vaginal walls and holding them in place. With the walls spread, a physician is able to look into the vagina with the naked eye, or with another tool, such as a colposcope, for a magnified view of the area.

This allows for examination of cervical-based conditions, including cervical dysplasia. Additionally, in the instance of cervical cell abnormalities, a speculum is used to complete a cervical biopsy.

A speculum may also be used during certain assisted reproductive technology (ART) fertility treatments, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), where washed sperm is fed directly into the uterus. A speculum opens the vaginal cavity, allowing a catheter (small, hollow tube) to be inserted into the uterus. The sperm is injected through the catheter, and deposited in the uterine cavity.

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