HealthDay News – No direct evidence was found to support the use of pelvic examinations as one-time or periodic screening tests in asymptomatic, non-pregnant otherwise low-risk women, according to draft evidence review commissioned by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

“There is limited evidence regarding the diagnostic accuracy and harms of the routine screening pelvic examination to guide practice in asymptomatic primary care populations,” authors of the draft guidance stated.

Researchers from the USPSTF conducted a systematic review to examine the evidence for the effectiveness of pelvic examination in reducing all-cause, cancer-specific, and disease-specific morbidity and mortality and in improving quality of life.

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The researchers found no direct evidence to determine the benefits and harms of the pelvic examination for screening. Limited evidence was available from eight studies on the diagnostic accuracy and harms associated with routine screening pelvic examination in asymptomatic primary care populations. 

The USPSTF concludes that there is currently insufficient evidence for assessing the balance of benefits and harms of screening pelvic examination for the early detection and treatment of a range of gynecologic conditions. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement, which will be posted for public comment from June 28 to July 25.

“There is not enough evidence to make a determination on screening pelvic exam in asymptomatic women for conditions other than cervical cancer screening, gonorrhea, and chlamydia,” Task Force member Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, said in a statement. “Women with gynecologic symptoms or concerns should discuss them with their clinicians.”


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Evidence Synthesis #147. Screening for Gynecologic Conditions With Pelvic Examination: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Published June 28, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2016.  Source code.