Study: Pelvic Exams harms may outweigh the benefits

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A pelvic exam has long been the standard in a woman’s annual wellness visit. Now, one medical group says the harms outweigh the benefits.

The American College of Physicians is recommending against pelvic exams for most women. The guideline says a pelvic exam “rarely detects important disease and does not reduce mortality and is associated with discomfort for many women–false positive and negative examinations–and extra cost.”

The guideline applies to women who are not pregnant, those who are at average risk for cancer and women who don’t show any symptoms.

Despite the new recommendation, many doctors say they will still perform them.

Dr. Taraneh Shirazian with Mount Sinai Hospital says that for the vast majority of women that she has seen, they don’t express an large issues with the exam being performed.

In response to the new guideline, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say there’s no evidence to support or deny annual pelvic exams for low-risk patients and that the decision should be between the doctor and the patient.

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