Ask any woman how she feels about her annual pelvic exam and her response will range from an ambivalent groan to recalling a nightmarish experience.
Wearing a paper hospital gown, with legs spread-eagle in awkward stirrups, a woman’s most sensitive parts are examined with a tool that looks like a medieval torture device.
It’s no surprise women report feelingTrusted Source fear, embarrassment, and anxiety during their exam.
The pelvic exam screens for cervical abnormalities, sexually transmitted diseases, and a number of other health issues, which is why many women endure the appointment each year.
But the experience can be so traumatic for some people that they avoid making their annual appointmentTrusted Source altogether.
The American College of Physicians (ACP)Trusted Source says that unless a woman is experiencing symptoms of pelvic problems, that’s fine.
In 2014, the ACP found that annual exams for healthy women expose them to avoidable harms, such as anxiety and discomfort, with no benefit of reduced mortality rates.
Does taking care of women’s bodies have to be such an unbearable experience?