I recently read an article in NYTimes.com by Roni Caryn Rubin, entitled “Pelvic Exams May Not Be Needed”. I have always embraced the belief that less is more, but not necessarily when it comes to health and disease prevention. This article analyzes the pros and cons of pelvic exams.
It is currently standard that gyn exams include a yearly breast and pelvic exam, as well as a pap screening every 3 years. Breast exams and pap screenings are still very necessary; however the article suggests that a pelvic exam in a healthy woman with no complaints may not justify the intrusive nature of the exam. There is evidence suggesting it induces anxiety, fear, and pain in women, especially those who have suffered some type of trauma. In my work at Maze Women’s Sexual Health, I often encounter women who have physical or emotional issues that would at least warrant some discussion between the patient and her gynecologist before undergoing a pelvic exam.