Pelvic Exam Debate

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Story Updated: Jul 2, 2014

Do the potential downsides of having an annual routine pelvic exam outweigh the potential benefits? The answer according to the American College of Physicians is yes. The organization is now recommending against routine pelvic exams for healthy adult women with no gynecological symptoms. ACP experts conducted an in-depth analysis of 52 studies and concluded pelvic exams in average-risk, asymptomatic women are not effective at detecting disease and do not reduce the risk of death. However, they say, the research shows pelvic exams can cause pain, fear and anxiety in about a third of women. emotional distress for as many as 8 out of 10 women in some studies and may lead to false-positives, which can trigger unnecessary, additional and potentially invasive testing. The American College of Physicians says this new guideline does not apply to Pap smear screening, only pelvic examination and stresses that pregnant women as well as those with symptoms should continue to undergo screenings.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news you can use for healthier living.

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