pelvic exam

Growing concerns about super yeast and pelvic exams

Bacteria aren’t the only superbugs around there days. In fact, US health officials and multitudes of clinicians around the country have become alarmed by a new strain of drug-resistant yeast known as Candida auris responsible for (potentially) fatal infections on a global level.

Based on data from a limited amount of patients, 60% of those infected with this new strain have died, although the CDC emphasized that it was not clear how many of them had other serious illness that may have contributed to their demise.

First detected in 2009, the “super” yeast has found in 9 nations on 4 continents, with one likely affecting a patient in the US back in 2013.

Like most other drug-resistant infections (including MRSA), Candida auris seem to occur mostly in hospital and other institutional settings, where it causes bloodstream, ear, and wound infections.

These are far worse than the type of yeast infections most people are familiar with around their genitals, and the CDC is recommending that all hospitals confine patients with them to their own rooms and disinfect those quarters daily.

Speaking of genitals, the United States Preventative Services Task Force has concluded there is not need for healthy, non-pregnant women to subject themselves to annual pelvic exams, citing a 2014 report by the American College of Physicians (made up of internists) that there is no real evidence that they help “catch” cancer or other ailments in patients who do not have any symptoms such as pain or bleeding.

Not only did they find the invasive procedure to be generally unnecessary, as well as opening up a can of worms that can send women down a “rabbit hole” of other needless tests and possible surgical procedures when their condition is actually benign, the invasiveness of the exam, itself, can be most distressing to women.

However, it is no surprise that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has taken the opposite view, contending that the exams “build trust” between of woman and her physician and that whether or not to submit to yearly screenings should be left up to them, rather than dictated by some government report.

At present, it was reported that the cost of the 63 million pelvic exams performed each year is a whopping $2.6 billion.

While the federal government is not legally required to follow recommendations issued by the Preventative Services Task Force, it usually does, and these findings could end up impacting coverage provided through the Affordable Healthcare Act, as well as Medicare and Medicaid for the future.

At present, pelvic exams are usually covered as part of the annual wellness visit under most of these plans. However, there could come a time, when patients will have to pay for them out-of-pocket.

The pelvic exam is the latest (routine) test to “come under fire” along with the need for yearly mammograms, and PSA tests.

About Diana Duel

Diana Duel is an eclectic writer who has written on everything from woodstove and fireplace cooking to automotive topics and holistic medicine. As an advocate of health and wellbeing, Diana also writes several columns related to these subject.

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