Having an annual pelvic exam or women’s wellness exam is a fundamental part of medical care and is valuable in promoting prevention practices, recognizing risk factors for disease, identifying medical problems, and establishing the clinician–patient relationship.
Components of the annual pelvic exam, include checks of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, rectum and pelvis, and may identify masses, growths or other abnormalities. A Pap test, which screens for cervical cancer, is also performed during a pelvic exam.
The components of your annual examination may vary depending on your age, risk factors and physician preference.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states annual pelvic examination of patients 21 years of age or older is recommended. For patients under 21 years it is currently recommended that it take place during the first visit to the obstetrician–gynecologist for screening and the provision of preventive services and guidance take place between the ages of 13 years and 15 years. This visit generally does not include pelvic examination.