Screening pelvic exams are of no benefit, US doctors’ group says

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 01 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4342
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Screening pelvic exams should not be routinely performed on healthy, asymptomatic, women who are not pregnant, a new clinical guideline from the American College of Physicians has said.1

The guideline was prepared by the college’s Clinical Guidelines Committee and appeared in the 1 July issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The college—whose membership includes 137 000 internists, internal medicine sub-specialists, and doctors in training—is the largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group in the United States. The committee rated its recommendation as “strong” and its evidence as “moderate quality.”

“Routine pelvic examination rarely detects important disease and does not reduce mortality,” said Linda Humphrey of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, and a guideline coauthor, in a statement accompanying its release. Moreover, the exam “is associated with discomfort for many …

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