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Getting ready for that annual checkup? Recent studies suggest that women may want to save that insurance deductible for when they actually need it. A report published December 10, 2012 by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggest that annual pelvic exams actually have little medical necessity for healthy women.

A study performed by researchers at the University of California, sampling 521 obstetricians and gynecologists, asked whether the women examined had any symptoms of illness and whether or not those women actually required a Pap test. Almost all those surveyed reported that they performed bi-manual, or two handed, examinations on women of all ages, even in the absence of any symptoms which would cause an elevated risk of disease. The reasoning most gave for performing the exam? Because most women expected it. It’s a reassurance for women, and a healthy financial payout for the doctor, too. The study revealed that doctors were performing examinations on women as early as age 18, even when the examination is suggested only for those women 21 and older. Doctors were even performing these examinations on women with no ovaries, uterus, or cervix. Physicians in the northeastern and southern United Stated were revealed to be more likely to perform these exams even if unnecessary than any other part of the country.

Your health is of course of the utmost importance, and if the doctor requires certain examinations and tests due to risk factors or symptoms of potentially harmful diseases, you should heed his or her recommendation. It is important, however, to ensure that the tests being run are appropriate and not simply wallet fillers for the physicians. Staying informed, and educated, is the first step towards staying healthy, and keeping that deductible low.

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, Eastern Shore Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service.

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