Obstetrician-gynecologists' beliefs on the importance of pelvic examinations in assessing hormonal contraception eligibility

Contraception. 2014 Dec;90(6):612-4. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2014.06.038. Epub 2014 Jun 28.


Objective: To describe obstetrician-gynecologists' beliefs regarding the importance of pelvic examination (including external genitalia inspection, speculum examination, bimanual examination) in assessing hormonal contraception eligibility.

Methods: In a national probability survey, 1020 obstetrician-gynecologists drawn from the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile rated importance of the examination in four categories: very, moderately, a little and not important.

Results: The response rate was 62% (n=521). Seventy-nine percent considered at least one exam component to be of some importance (very, moderately, or a little importance). Bimanual examination was rated more often than external examination in each level of importance (p<.001). Physicians who believed no component of the examination was important were more likely to be younger, female and in practice settings other than private practice.

Conclusions: Despite guidelines stating that pelvic examinations are unnecessary in assessing hormonal contraception eligibility, most obstetrician-gynecologists believe that they are of some importance. These attitudes may pose a barrier to contraception provision.

Keywords: Gynecologic examinations; National survey; Preventive health care; Reproductive health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Contraception / methods
  • Contraception / psychology*
  • Contraception / standards
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Gynecological Examination / psychology*
  • Gynecological Examination / standards
  • Gynecological Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Gynecology
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obstetrics
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States