You may dread the visit to have a pelvic exam. The good news is that your trip to have your pelvis examined might be entirely unnecessary. Some experts believe an annual pelvic exam is excessive, some believe it is not necessary at all and some believe that it might even be harmful.
Healthy Women Many Not Need The Exam
Not having a pelvic exam only applies to women who are healthy and who are not pregnant. Women who visit their doctors with complaints of pelvis pain should still have their pelvises examined as usual.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports regular pelvis exams. However, the American College of Physicians disagrees and has created new guidelines for doctors. While healthy women many not need to receive a pelvis exam every three years, they should still undergo a pap smear every three years.
There Are Other Benefits To The Exam
Those who argue that pelvis exams are still necessary often admit that the pelvis exam is not as useful for screening for ovarian cancer, but is useful when determining if the uterus is about to prolapse. This is when the muscles holding the uterus in place have weakened and are causing the uterus to slip down toward the vagina, which is a problem women who have recently given birth sometimes experience.
A pelvic exam can assist a doctor in more quickly determining if a woman is suffering from endometriosis. Women who are experiencing pain during intercourse will often by checked for this through a pelvic exam. Also, a pelvis exam may make sense at least once for a young woman because the exam is used as an opportunity to teach the woman about her body.
Consult With Your Doctor
Given that there are some benefits to the pelvis exam and given that there are still some disagreements regarding how useful they are, it is best that you still have regular pelvis exams until more information becomes available. The greatest risk of having a pelvis exam is that your doctor may believe that you need a surgery that is actually unnecessary, but by being cautious about any treatments you receive and by always seeking a second opinion when surgery is brought up, you can mitigate these risks. Talk to your doctor, one like Women First OBGYN, about your concerns regarding the pelvis exam and he or she will be able to give you a more personalized opinion on whether this exam is right for you.