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Contraception. 2013 May;87(5):650-4. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.08.010. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Physical examination prior to initiating hormonal contraception: a systematic review.

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1
Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. ntepper@cdc.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Provision of contraception is often linked with physical examination, including clinical breast examination (CBE) and pelvic examination. This review was conducted to evaluate the evidence regarding outcomes among women with and without physical examination prior to initiating hormonal contraceptives.

STUDY DESIGN:

The PubMed database was searched from database inception through March 2012 for all peer-reviewed articles in any language concerning CBE and pelvic examination prior to initiating hormonal contraceptives. The quality of each study was assessed using the United States Preventive Services Task Force grading system.

RESULTS:

The search did not identify any evidence regarding outcomes among women screened versus not screened with CBE prior to initiation of hormonal contraceptives. The search identified two case-control studies of fair quality which compared women who did or did not undergo pelvic examination prior to initiating oral contraceptives (OCs) or depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). No differences in risk factors for cervical neoplasia, incidence of sexually transmitted infections, incidence of abnormal Pap smears or incidence of abnormal wet mount findings were observed.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although women with breast cancer should not use hormonal contraceptives, there is little utility in screening prior to initiation, due to the low incidence of breast cancer and uncertain value of CBE among women of reproductive age. Two fair quality studies demonstrated no differences between women who did or did not undergo pelvic examination prior to initiating OCs or DMPA with respect to risk factors or clinical outcomes. In addition, pelvic examination is not likely to detect any conditions for which hormonal contraceptives would be unsafe.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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