Skip The Pelvic Exam, Says the American College of Physicians
But not everyone in the medical community agrees
A pelvic exam for women who are not pregnant and do not have symptoms of cancer may be unnecessary, says the American College of Physicians (ACP) in a controversial new set of guidelines published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The ACP, which reviewed studies on the harms and benefits of pelvic exams, says the procedure does not detect disease as well as previously thought; it doesn’t reduce mortality; and it leads to many false-positives, resulting in unnecessary testing and anxiety.
For the uninitiated, here’s what happens when women visit the gynecologist: their legs go up in stirrups and the doctor looks at the genitals before inserting a speculum into the vagina to examine the cervix. (If a woman is getting a PAP, cervical cells are gently scraped off with a Q-tip-like tool.) Then, the doctor places one hand inside the vagina and the other on the abdomen…
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