Following the more general examination, the practitioner will perform a pelvic exam. You will be asked to slide your hips down to the edge of the table and put your feet in the stirrups. Then let your knees spread wide apart and relax as much as possible. Relaxing your abdominal and vaginal muscles will help you become more comfortable during the exam. The practitioner will first exam the soft folds of the vulva, and opening of the vagina to check for signs of redness, irritation, cysts, lesions, or other conditions. Then he or she will insert the closed plastic speculum. It is then opened to separate the walls of the vagina. The cervix is visualized and samples are collected for the PAP test and, if desired, for sexually transmitted diseases.