Posted by: 2in10 | 04/11/2011

questioning the need

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is considering whether to continue to recommend that women have a pelvic exam when they come for routine gynecological care.

It’s unpleasant and may keep many women from coming to the doctor, some say. And if a women has only 15 minutes with her physician, perhaps there are more important things they need to talk about. Getting a Pap smear to detect cervical cancer is one important purpose for the pelvic exam. But other problems, like ovarian cancer, aren’t so readily determined by a manual exam. And diagnosing some sexually transmitted diseases is just as well done by blood or urine tests.

Of course, there are physicians who say they learn a great deal from the pelvic exam, including how close a woman is to menopause or early detection of fibroids or endometriosis. Some patients regard the pelvic exam as basic to their gyn care.

Making the exam more “compassionate” is the current goal for some who train medical students. Explaining what is happening step by step is part of the training.

All this is in a Wall Street Journal article by Melinda Beck that I saved from February 15, 2011. What do you think?

Carolyn

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