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The Annual Bimanual Exam: What Are Its Pros and Cons?

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The Annual Bimanual Exam: Its Pros and Cons creo77/Fotolia

Responding with a rebuttal was Dr. Molly Cooke, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Director of Education for Global Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco.

Cooke said that most practitioners in women’s health have not progressed to the point where it’s openly acknowledged that annual bimanual exams are a waste of time. She feels that it’s a limited exam, and it doesn't provide any benefit in asymptomatic women.

She said, “Since around 1995, there have been studies that show the accuracy of the bimanual exam in diagnosing ovarian cancer is poor."

Cooke explained that doctors are still performing it because people hate change. She would prefer to take the time to create a dialogue with women who might try to avoid their yearly pelvic exam out of fear or discomfort.

Making an Informed Decision

Regardless of whether you choose to have a yearly bimanual exam or not, the point is to create a dialogue with your doctor so that you are able to make decisions you are comfortable with, and that are in your best interest.

There are definite benefits in continuing to do a yearly bimanual exam, despite any legitimate fears of having such an examination performed. Be sure to have a conversation with your doctor to help you feel comfortable with your final decision.

Reviewed December 1, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.