Ask the Nurse

At what age is a pelvic exam no longer necessary as part of an annual physical?

An annual women’s wellness exam may or may not include a pelvic with or without a Pap smear. This will depend on your medical and gynecological history and any symptoms.

Below are annual exam guidelines for women of all ages:

  • After age 65, Pap smears may be discontinued for women who have had a negative/normal screening.
  • Low-risk women older than age 30 with a negative HPV may go 3-5 years between cervical Pap smears.
  • Women under age 24 should have yearly chlamydia screenings.
  • A pelvic exam can reveal pelvic prolapse, hormonal status and muscle tone.
  • A yearly pelvic exam does not have to be done in a woman with no gynecologic concerns per the U.S. Preventive Health Task Force, but a periodic exam can be helpful.
  • It is important to have a health assessment with weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, assessment for immunizations, lifestyle assessment, living will and durable power of attorney and age-appropriate cancer screenings.
  • Too many women only get a yearly breast and pelvic without other important wellness assessments and selected exams, which should include periodic eye and dental check ups.

All my best,
Nurse Mary

December 29, 2013 at 5:15pm