HOW OFTEN DO WOMEN REALLY NEED TO SEE A GYNECOLOGIST?

HOW OFTEN DO WOMEN REALLY NEED TO SEE A GYNECOLOGIST?

While regular visits to the gynecologist are the best way to prevent medical issues with your reproductive system, there’s no denying that it can be an uncomfortable experience. Some women dread this annual appointment because of the discomfort experienced during the part of the exam in which an instrument called a speculum is used to open the vagina and provide visual access to the cervix. Others are simply uncomfortable with the intimate nature of the annual pelvic exam itself. In recent years, this has led doctors to reevaluate how often an otherwise healthy woman needs to undergo this type of preventative exam.

In 2014, an expert panel appointed by the American College of Physicians took at look at the collective body of scientific literature to find out whether or not annual gynecological exams were actually worth the distress and discomfort they cause for some women. The results were actually quite surprising, and led to updated recommendations which were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Based on their review of previous studies, the panel recommended that otherwise healthy, low-risk women may not need to endure the pelvic exam once a year. “They not only found no benefit from the annual pelvic exam, they found that it often causes discomfort and distress. Sometimes it also leads to surgery that is not needed,” reported Harvard Health Publications.

Before you cancel your upcoming appointment, however, it’s important to realize that these updated recommendations come with a few conditions. The new guidelines only apply to the pelvic exam, not cervical cancer screens, breast exams, or any of the other services typically provided by a gynecologist during an annual exam.

Wonder if you’re eligible for delayed pelvic exams, contact Women to Women to discuss your individual treatment needs.

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