Choosing Wisely:

Don’t require a pelvic exam or other physical exam to prescribe oral contraceptive medications.

Rationale and Comments: Hormonal contraceptives are safe, effective, and well-tolerated for most women. Data do not support the necessity of performing a pelvic or breast examination to prescribe oral contraceptive medications. Hormonal contraception can be safely provided on the basis of medical history and blood pressure measurement.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • Sources:
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Disciplines:
  • Gynecologic
  • References: • Stewart FH, Harper CC, Ellertson CE, Grimes DA, Sawaya GF, Trussell J. Clinical breast and pelvic examination requirements for hormonal contraception: current practice vs evidence. JAMA. 2001 May 2;285(17):2232-9.
    • Henderson JT, Sawaya GF, Blum M, Stratton L, Harper CC. Pelvic examinations and access to oral hormonal contraception. Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Dec;116(6):1257-64.
    • Committee on Gynecologic Practice. Committee opinion no. 534: well-woman visit. Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Aug;120(2 Pt 1):421-4.

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