Routine Pelvic Exams Not Recommended

268The American College of Physicians (ACP) has released new guidelines regarding routine pelvic examinations for “asymptomatic, nonpregnant, adult women.” Based upon the most recent research, the ACP notes that “evidence shows that the diagnostic accuracy of pelvic examination for detecting ovarian cancer or bacterial vaginosis is low.”

The guidelines also warn that “many false-positive findings are associated with pelvic examination, with attendant psychological and physical harms, as well as harms associated with the examination itself. Harms of pelvic examination include unnecessary laparoscopies (a surgical insertion of a tiny video camera to inspect female organs) or laparotomies (another surgical incision for exploration usually through the abdomen), fear, anxiety, embarrassment, pain, and discomfort.” In summary, “ACP recommends against performing screening pelvic examination in asymptomatic, nonpregnant, adult women.”

Read the Guideline