Annual pelvic exams are typically used to screen for possibly cancerous changes and STIs (STDs for all you '90s kids). But, according to more and more doctors, a simple pee-in-cup and swabbing exercise is as effective, and significantly less invasive. The exams also increase the cost of medical care and aren't totally medically necessary if you're not symptomatic. Besides, abnormal results often cause alarm when there isn't any real reason for concern, leading to equally unnecessary surgeries and subsequent complications.
Jezebel cites all kinds of big-name studies and organizations that not only say bimanuals are unnecessary, but that they may be part of the reason why U.S. rates of ovarian cystectomy and hysterectomy are more than double that of European countries, where pelvic exams are given only to symptomatic women. However, it's important to note that women still need to go for an annual exam to get a prescription for birth control, which is frustrating if those exams aren't helping you otherwise.
This case is obviously not as black-and-white as whether pelvic exams should remain a regular service, but the article certainly sheds some light on a routine that may one day become obsolete. We're choosing to put some faith in these findings. Because "Now you're going to feel a little pressure" may be the grossest understatement of all time. (Jezebel)
Image: Via Jezebel