Choosing Wisely®

Screening Pelvic Exams in Asymptomatic Non-pregnant Women

Recommendation

Don’t perform pelvic exams on asymptomatic nonpregnant women, unless necessary for guideline-appropriate screening for cervical cancer.  

Screening pelvic examinations, except for the purpose of performing cervical cancer screening at recommended intervals, have not led to reduction in mortality or morbidity, and expose asymptomatic women to unnecessary invasive testing. Noninvasive options to screen for sexually-transmitted infections are now available as alternatives to endocervical cultures. Screening pelvic examinations also add unnecessary costs to the health care system, included expenses from evaluations of false-positive findings. These pelvic exams can even lead to unnecessary surgery.

This recommendation is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about this recommendation or their individual situation should consult their physician.

About Choosing Wisely®

The Choosing Wisely®(www.choosingwisely.org)  campaign was created as an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation(www.abimfoundation.org) to improve health care quality. More than 70 specialty societies have identified commonly used tests or procedures within their specialties that are possibly overused.

Learn more about the AAFP support of the Choosing Wisely® campaign.