Monday, February 28, 2011

Are pelvic exams going out of style?


Ah, every woman’s favorite. Melinda Beck wrote about this internal exam in the WSJ, Feb 15, 2011.

After you reach a certain age, you have had this yucky exam so many times it is not as horrible as at first. But still. And even if you have no uterus or cervix, they still tell you to have it.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, I believe, say you can stop the Pap when you are 65 and have had three normal ones…or two, I forget.

The Pap recommendation is now every two years for women 21-30 with no symptoms or risk factors and every three years from 30 up.

This exam also checks for ovarian cancer with that press on the stomach and press from inside deal (bimanual exam—two hands). This can lead to unnecessary tests, some docs say. If symptoms of cancer appear, ultrasound can be better than this periodic mashing.

There is no need for a pelvic to get the pill—but it is often required.

Still and all, some doctors insist on regular pelvics. See if your doctor will kick this around with you.

There is also a move to make this exam more humane—like warming the equipment. Yeah, that would be good.

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