Should women continue to receive pelvic exams? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Should women continue to receive pelvic exams?

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A pelvic exam has long been the standard in a woman's annual wellness visit. Now one medical group says the harm outweigh the benefits, but not everyone believes that.

Amy Yee just had her annual exam.

"It was pretty easy, smooth, basic. She did the pelvic exam, a swab, a Pap smear," said Yee.

But now 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.

Many gynecologists like Dr. Taraneh Shirazian at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York say pelvic exams can help detect common problems like uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

She says she'll still perform them, despite the new recommendation.

"For the vast majority of women that I've seen, they don't express any you know large issue with having the exam performed. And really very many are very grateful to have an assessment of the uterus and ovaries done," said Dr. Taraneh.

Yee agrees and wants to keep getting the exam for the reassurance it provides.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the decision to undergo a pelvic exam should be between the doctor and patient.


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