Most women dread their yearly pelvic exam. And, the need to have one may soon change. A recommendation from a panel of medical experts suggested there was no real evidence that supported the yearly exam on women who are not pregnant and healthy.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force gave their recommendation, saying recent evidence has increased against doing annual pelvic exams, which is done 63 million times a year with an estimated cost of $2.6 billion.
The announcement regarding pelvic exams for gynecologic conditions is a first for the task force. Its recommendation would impact what women around the world do about the test and if the insurance companies will cover it.
Francisco Garcia, a member of the Task Force, said the recommendation is that more research be conducted to learn what the advantages and disadvantages of doing a yearly pelvic screening in women who have no symptoms or complaints.
The American College of Physicians, in 2014, had expressed similar misgivings regarding the exam. The group, which comprised of medical experts as well, looked at 60 years of research and found it didn’t support the notion that it could catch cancer or other conditions for women who didn’t have symptoms like pain or bleeding.
The ACP panel said the test is invasive, causing harm to women’s psyche. It also leads to many unnecessary tests and surgeries for women whose condition is benign.
However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the exam establishes trust and the decision to screen or not should be an individual one – between the woman and her doctor.