American College Of Physicians: Doctors Should Not Perform Routine Pelvic Exams
The procedure is currently recommended as part of well-woman visits, but the group found no evidence that cancer is detected by pelvic exams alone.
The New York Times: Guideline Calls Routine Exams Of The Pelvis Unnecessary
Doctors should stop performing routine pelvic exams, a key component of regular physicals for women, an influential medical group said Monday. There is no evidence that such pelvic exams are useful and plenty to suggest that the procedure provokes fear, anxiety and pain in many women, the American College of Physicians said in a new practice guideline for doctors (Rabin, 6/30).
Kaiser Health News: Pelvic Exams No Longer Recommended For Well-Woman Visits
[T]he latest evidence review found that in non-pregnant adult women without symptoms, there are no studies showing that cancer is actually detected by pelvic exams alone. And the screenings are more likely to hurt women than help them. The most likely harms include pain, discomfort, anxiety, embarrassment and fear for the woman, says Bloomfield. But in more serious cases, doctors may also identify false positives that can subject the patient to "a diagnostic cascade" of unnecessary tests and even surgery (Gold, 7/1).
The Washington Post: Healthy Women Do Not Need Routine Pelvic Exams, Influential Physicians Group Says
As a result, in a new guideline it issued Monday, the organization “recommends against performing screening pelvic examination in asymptomatic, non-pregnant, adult women” who have no elevated risk of cancer or other disease. Healthy women should continue to have Pap smears as recommended by their doctors, the group said (Bernstein, 6/30).
NPR: Skip The Stirrups: Doctors Rethink Yearly Pelvic Exams
Not all doctors agree about these new guidelines. "This recommendation will be controversial," obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. George Sawaya wrote in an accompanying editorial with a colleague at the University of California, San Francisco. "Pelvic exams have long been considered a fundamental component of the well-woman visit" (Doucleff, 6/30).