Pelvic examinations and sexual violence

Submitted by ub on Thu, 10/02/2014 - 22:04

Women who have a history of violent sexual abuse may suffer emotional distress during a routine pelvic examination. Healthcare providers would benefit from greater awareness of symptoms predictive of examination-related distress in this patient population, according to a study published in Violence and Gender, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Prior work suggests that women with a history of sexual violence, particularly those who develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are vulnerable to emotional distress during the pelvic examination. However, intensity of pelvic examination–related distress is variable, even among women with prior trauma. Additional research that helps to identify potentially modifiable factors most directly associated with examination-related distress is needed to guide the clinical practice of professionals in women's health care.

This article is available free on the Violence and Gender website at