The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women over the age of 21 have a pelvic exam once a year where your doctor examines the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and bladder to check for illness or abnormalities. A pelvic exam is different from a pap smear, a test that is performed during a pelvic exam for women of a certain age, to screen for abnormal cells in the cervix.