Skip Navigation LinksHome > October 2013 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 > The first pelvic examination for an adolescent: is this rit...
Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3283642b8a
ADOLESCENT AND PEDIATRIC GYNECOLOGY: Edited by Paula J. Adams Hillard

The first pelvic examination for an adolescent: is this rite of passage used to its full potential?

Siwe, Karina,b; Wijma, Barbroa

Collapse Box

Abstract

Purpose of review: Adolescents’ experiences of their first pelvic examination (external inspection, speculum examination and bimanual palpation) may have a marked influence on future experiences; why examination techniques and strategies for creating a positive experience of this situation need to be developed. This review addresses to what extent that ambition is reflected in recent literature.

Recent findings: The majority of articles on ‘pelvic examination during adolescence’ come from the United States, which skews the review's perspective. Several researchers recommend using investigations based on new technology rather than a pelvic examination when medical indications for a full examination are present. The profession's attitudes toward annual check-ups and pelvic examinations (in the United States) are currently debated, for teens as well as for adults.

How to perform a first pelvic examination on an adolescent is not often discussed, nor are strategies for creating a positive experience of this event.

The contexts in which a first pelvic examination is performed probably differ among societies. The Swedish and the US contexts are compared as an illustration; for example preventive healthcare and sex education is in Sweden the responsibility of schools, open for anybody and without admission fees.

Summary: Recent literature does not mirror a need for developing examination techniques and strategies for creating a positive experience of the first pelvic examination, nor for exploiting its maximal potential as a positive rite of passage.

The ongoing US debate on indications for pelvic examinations and annual check-ups is even more relevant for adolescents, in whom contraindications need to be considered.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Login

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.