Sequence of Pelvic Examination Does Not Affect Patients With Baseline Vulvovaginal Syndromes: A Randomized Clinical Trial.Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2020 Apr 21 [Online ahead of print]FP
The purpose of this study is to determine the optimal sequence in performing a pelvic examination to reduce discomfort in patients with baseline vaginal pain.
A randomized controlled trial of women presenting for a new appointment at the Drexel Vaginitis Center was conducted. Women were assigned to either group A, a Q-tip touch test, speculum examination, then bimanual examination, or group B, a Q-tip touch test, bimanual examination, then speculum examination. The primary outcome was visual analog scales to assess pain at baseline and after each portion of the examination. Secondary outcomes were responses to questionnaires for self-esteem, quality of life, and sexual function.
Two hundred women were enrolled in the trial. For both group A and group B, each portion of the examination was similarly scored regardless of whether the speculum examination was performed before or after bimanual examination. Pain during the speculum examination was higher than pain during the other components of the examination, although not significant (P = 0.65).When looking at reported pain outcomes, outcomes did not differ as a whole or between groups in relation to sexual activity, sexual orientation, and previous hysterectomy. The data were not significantly different between groups for self-esteem scores, sexual dysfunction, or quality of life scores.
In women with baseline vaginal pain, there was no difference in pain scores between the different components of the pelvic examination, nor is there a significant difference in pain during the examination compared with their baseline pain. Most patients reported minimal pain during each component.