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What is vaginoscopy?

Vaginoscopy is an examination of the inside of the vagina using tiny video camera. This camera is at the end of a plastic coated cable that is thinner than a pencil called a cystoscope. As the camera films the inside of the vagina, the doctor can see it on a TV screen.

Vaginoscopy is a diagnostic procedure. This means that it helps the doctor find out if there is something wrong inside the vagina.

Vaginoscopy is done when patients have unexplained pain, odor, bleeding, or other symptoms (as specified by the doctor) from the vagina. It is different from the kind of examination a gynecologist would use for an adult’s vagina. For children, a vaginoscopy is more comfortable and easier to have done.

Vaginoscopy is done under general anesthesia

Before the examination, your child is sedated with medicines. The examination usually takes a few minutes, but the whole procedure including the sedation may take about an hour.

The doctor will gently put the cystoscope into the vagina. This will not harm any tissues, including the hymen. The doctor will then look at the TV screen to see if there is anything suspicious or wrong. Sometimes a foreign object, such as a piece of toilet paper, is the problem. If this is the case, the doctor will be able to see the object with the cystoscope. The doctor may also take a swab from the vagina to test for infection. A swab is a small sample of liquid taken from the wall of the vagina with a clean cotton swab.

Some parents worry that this procedure will affect the child's virginity. It will not. No tissues are damaged and the child will not remember the event.

In the recovery room after a vaginoscopy

After a vaginoscopy, your child will go to the recovery room until the sedation wears off. When your child wakes up, and is able to drink water, you both can go home.

At home after a vaginoscopy

After you leave the hospital and get home, your child may feel some mild discomfort. If there is any pain, you may give acetaminophen (Tylenol). Read the label to find out how much to give.

Your child may bleed or "spot" a little after the vaginoscopy, but this does not happen often.

Your child can return to regular activities when feeling up to it. Most kids are comfortable getting back into their daily routines the next day.

You may have to come back to the clinic for a follow-up visit.

Key points

  • Vaginoscopy is an examination of the inside of the vagina.
  • It is done under sedation.
  • Most kids who have vaginoscopy go home the same day and quickly return to their daily activities.

Please call the clinic if you have:

  • Pain that is very bad or gets worse
  • Heavy bleeding from the vagina
  • Fever higher than 101° F
  • Trouble urinating (peeing)

Reviewed 7/2022

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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