Health & Wellness

Do I need an annual pelvic exam?

The annual pelvic exam is not a test women look forward to — it's an uncomfortable and invasive procedure.

For healthy women without symptoms, it may not be necessary. An influential government task force recently found there isn't enough evidence to say one way or another, do they work, or don't they?

The object of the pelvic exam — which involves a doctor or nurse practitioner inserting the gloved finger of one hand into the woman’s vagina, while the other hand presses down on her abdomen — is to get a feel for the health of the woman’s reproductive organs, including their size and position in the abdomen. It can detect uterine tumors, indications of endometriosis and can give a warning that a woman's vagina is starting to prolapse, or slip out of place.

But, “avoiding an annual pelvic exam is not the same as avoiding a yearly visit to an OB-GYN,” said NBC medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar.

Azar explains why you still need to visit your gynecologist each year. Watch the video for more.

RELATED: It's unclear whether an annual pelvic exam is necessary

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