Primary Care and Gynecologists Argue Over Pelvic Exam Necessity

Gynecologic scrimmages and even a bit of chaos has erupted over the confusion regarding pelvic exam necessity. As always, the risk benefit analysis of a particular test should be weighed by the patient and her physician. No patients are forced to do exams they do not want. Board Certified Gynecologists and Gynecologists who are members of ACOG feel strongly there is benefit. As soon as the reputable American College of Physicians issued a negative recommendation regarding routine pelvic exams then the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist issued their own statement confirming the benefits of routine pelvic exams. a key component of regular physicals for women, an influential medical group has now said. They protest there is no proof  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. The college’s guideline was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and was accompanied by an article reviewing the scientific evidence. The new recommendation contradicts guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which immediately reiterated its support for yearly pelvic exams. Gynecologists agree that STD testing can be performed on urine instead of on a pelvic exam, but there is no doubt that visual inspection is the only way to diagnose warts, pelvic floor problems such as dropped bladder, or skin conditions such as precancerous changes of the external tissues, along with many other benefits. This new controversy will now be a talking point along with pap smear frequency.


  1. A reader is having pelvic pain symptoms and wonder's if she can wait for a scheduled appointment or go to the ER. Pain has to be evaluated by a pelvic examination. Triage nurses in your gynecologists office or at your local hospital can help you figure out the best course of action, but a blog that is designed for information and health news cannot direct care, and cannot tell you which visit is most appropriate. At we try to work our pelvic pain patients in the same day if she can come and be seen.


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