Pelvic examination of asymptomatic women - Attitudes and clinical practice

Stewart, Rebecca Anne, Thistlethwaite, Jill and Evans, Rebecca (2008) Pelvic examination of asymptomatic women - Attitudes and clinical practice. Australian Family Physician, 37 6: 493-496.

Author Stewart, Rebecca Anne
Thistlethwaite, Jill
Evans, Rebecca
Title Pelvic examination of asymptomatic women - Attitudes and clinical practice
Journal name Australian Family Physician   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0300-8495
Publication date 2008-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 37
Issue 6
Start page 493
End page 496
Total pages 4
Place of publication South Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Language eng
Subject 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Formatted abstract
Many women see their general practitioner for 'well woman' checks, which often include Pap tests and a pelvic examination. A recent review of the evidence revealed pelvic examination in asymptomatic women is not a valid screening test, particularly with regard to ovarian cancer screening.
This project explored the attitudes of GPs regarding the performance of pelvic examinations in asymptomatic women. Twenty-seven GPs were interviewed about their current practice and opinions of the value, advantages and disadvantages of pelvic examinations in asymptomatic women. The interview data was analysed qualitatively.
The majority of the GPs interviewed perform pelvic examinations as part of a well woman check. Despite broad consensus by the GPs that the value of a pelvic examination as a screening test was questionable, they were performed for a range of reasons including patient reassurance, documenting the norm, 'because I was taught to', for legal reasons, and for completeness. The disadvantages of performing pelvic examinations in asymptomatic women noted by the GPs were time constraints, chaperone issues, intimacy concerns, and false reassurance and unnecessary anxiety caused by unexpected findings. However, neither these disadvantages nor the presentation of evidence based guidelines dissuaded the doctors from performing the examinations. This highlights the ongoing discrepancy between the theoretical development of such recommendations and their practical implementation.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 09:56:22 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Faculty Of Health Sciences