More and more doctors are suggesting a pelvic examination before prescribing birth control pills; however WHO and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) say birth control pills can be prescribed without the exam.

“We were surprised, and we were certainly hoping that the numbers would be lower,” Dr. George F. Sawaya, one of the researchers on the study, told Reuters Health. According to Sawaya, such mandatory examinations often burdens women who are seeking for effective birth control, as they often have to wait for schedules to be fixed for an examination.

Researchers noted that about 28 per cent of American women use contraceptives to control birth. “In my view, we should have as few barriers as possible to women trying to get effective birth control,” Sawaya said.

Though such pelvic exams can help doctor-s identify signs of sexually transmitted infections, researchers feel it need not be linked to oral contraception. It is also possible that for non-medical reasons like insurance reimbursement, some doctors advise a pelvic exam Sawaya and his colleagues note in their report.“In the absence of adequate financial incentives for contraceptive counseling as an important clinical activity in its own right,” the researchers write, “providers are incentivized to conduct a physical exam with a well-reimbursed billing code.”

There is no specific guideline as to how often women should have routine pelvic examinations.

ACOG recommends women should start taking Pap tests at 21 years, with screening repeated until they reach 30. Pap tests can be screened every three years.However Sawaya suggested that women ask the examiner why she was being suggested a pelvic examination before going ahead with it.

The research concluded that women should have better awareness about current guidelines of birth control prescription.