Why pelvic exams are important for preventative care

It's definitely not something women look forward to, but pelvic exams are necessary for women as part of preventative care.

There has been some controversy about the necessity of a pelvic exam in some women because the U.S. Preventative Task Force has stated such an exam might not be needed. Unfortunately this statement, along with the changing guidelines about PAP smears, has led to women not coming to the doctor’s office as much to get them.

Nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner from Spectrum Health,  explains why pelvic exams are a crucial part in preventative care.

When a women goes to the doctor for this kind of visit, the goal is to identify risk factors, identify potential medical problems, screen for conditions ranging from depression, cervical cancer, breast cancer, and vaginal bacterial infections, and counsel about practices such as safe sex, and to prepare for changes such as midlife weight gain or menopause hot flashes.

It's important for women to get these checkups to find problems before they occur or get worse. The new guidelines state that women of the following age categories should get the following tests:

  • Younger than 21 years: no PAP
  • 21-29 years: PAP only, no HPV
  • 30-65: No PAP unless prior level 2 in the last 20 years.
  • Hysterectomy with removal of cervix, no PAP.

Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

All information was provided by Dr. Diana Bitner, her blog. Read more.

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