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.
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