Screening pelvic examination in adult women: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 2014 Jul 1;161(1):67-72. doi: 10.7326/M14-0701.


Description: The American College of Physicians (ACP) developed this guideline to present the evidence and provide clinical recommendations on the utility of screening pelvic examination for the detection of pathology in asymptomatic, nonpregnant, adult women.

Methods: This guideline is based on a systematic review of the published literature in the English language from 1946 through January 2014 identified using MEDLINE and hand-searching. Evaluated outcomes include morbidity; mortality; and harms, including overdiagnosis, overtreatment, diagnostic procedure-related harms, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, pain, and discomfort. The target audience for this guideline includes all clinicians, and the target patient population includes asymptomatic, nonpregnant, adult women. This guideline grades the evidence and recommendations using the ACP's clinical practice guidelines grading system.

Recommendation: ACP recommends against performing screening pelvic examination in asymptomatic, nonpregnant, adult women (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / diagnosis*
  • Gynecological Examination / economics
  • Gynecological Examination / standards*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology