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Vulvar Self-Exam

How to Perform a Vulvar Self Exam

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Updated April 16, 2014

A vulvar self-exam is an at-home exam to check for possible abnormalities concerning your vulva. Not to be confused with the vagina, the vulva is the external genitals, or labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris.

Why Should Women Perform a Vulvar Self-Exam?

Women need to perform a vulvar self-exam to look for abnormalities that may indicate infection, vulvar cancer, or other conditions. A vulvar self-exam can also be useful in teaching you what is normal in appearance for your vulva.

How Often Should a Woman Do a Vulvar Self-Exam?

The exam should be done about once a month in between menstrual cycles. If you are no longer menstruating, you should perform a vulvar self-exam every month on any desired date.

What Do I Need to Do an Exam?

A private area to perform the exam and a mirror are all that is needed to do a vulvar self-exam. The exam should take only 5-10 minutes.

How to Perform a Vulvar Self-Exam

  1. Stand, squat, or sit over top of a handheld mirror, making sure you can see your genitals clearly. Your partner may also assist.

  2. Check the area in which your pubic hair grows. Look for any moles spots, lesions, bumps, or rashes.

  3. Next, find your clitoris. Look for any growths, bumps, or discoloration.

  4. Check the labia majora, (outer lips) and feel for any bumps. Also visually look for any moles, rashes, growths, or lesions.

  5. Repeat with labia minora {inner lips}.

  6. Finally, look at the perineum. The perineum is the space located between the vagina and anus. Again, look for rashes, bumps, growths, and lesions.


Report anything suspicious or abnormal to your doctor, even if it seems to be small.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Cancer
  4. Women's Cancers
  5. Vulvar Cancer
  6. How to Perform a Vulvar Self Examination

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