Pelvic exam is part of routine gynecological annual basis examination. It is a preventive test performed by our OBGYN Dr. Jack Ayoub to detect problems like ovarian cancer, bacterial infection or other disorders in asymptomatic cases.
Pelvic examination involves visualization of vagina and cervix by using a specific tool called speculum. During the pelvic exam, the gynecologist examine cervix, uterus and both the sides of the abdomen for any abnormal growth, masses or any other abnormalities. Pap smear is also a part of pelvic exam. This diagnostic procedure is an essential part of annual health check-up in females. Recent research by experts have revealed that routine pelvic exams should be performed on women with certain symptoms and not on healthy, asymptomatic women.
The expert panel appointed by the American College of Physicians found that routine preventive pelvic examination result in no benefit in low risk, healthy women. These examinations often cause discomfort and distress and rarely detect any important disease. According to the researchers, most of the long time medical practices are done out of the habit than necessity and pelvic exam is one such routine test.
However, the expert panel also emphasizes that the guidelines only imply to pelvic exam and the routine screening for cervical cancer should not be excluded from yearly health check-ups. Pap smear should be conducted on a yearly basis but manual exam can be excluded. Other tests, such as blood tests, urine tests etc. can be performed on healthy women to detect problems such as sexually transmitted infections.
Pelvic exams are appropriate for women with symptoms such as vaginal discharge, pain, urinary problems or symptoms, abnormal bleeding, pain and sexual dysfunction. In women with the above mentioned symptoms, thorough examination should be performed to rule out any serious health condition.
Preventative care and healthcare screening are paramount to optimal health for women. Physicians are driven by the desire to help maintain health and treat conditions. As an obstetrician and gynecologist, the realization comes early in our education that we may not be the most popular of specialties; many women would rather endure much pain and concern than visit an obstetrician and gynecologist for an annual visit. Hopefully, the knowledge presented in this article will help women understand the importance of prevention and preventative healthcare and help empower women to lead the healthiest lives possible.