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Transvaginal Ultrasound

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Transvaginal ultrasound is one of the techniques of pelvic ultrasound procedure wherein your doctor will inspect your reproductive system by inserting a transducer through your vagina. Apart from detecting abnormalities in the reproductive organs, it can predict a lot of things during pregnancy. We explain you the details in the following segment.

Why is it performed?

Generally a woman undergoes transvaginal ultrasound due to the following reasons:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Menstruation problems like irregular periods
  • To diagnose cysts, growth, abscesses,  and tumours
  • To check for infection and pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • To understand the reason behind pelvic pain
  • Determine the placement of an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Detect the contour of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, endometrium, cervix and uterus

During pregnancy a transvaginal ultrasound helps to

  • Monitor the growth of the embryo in the early days
  • Change in the cervix and the opening of the cervix during onset of labour pain
  • Monitor the heart beat of the baby inside the womb
  • Look for any warning signs of miscarriage
  • Diagnose fetal birth defects
  • Inspect the placenta for any abnormal bleeding

How to prepare for the test?

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  • First you need to fix an appointment with your doctor who will perform a physical exam on you. You must reveal your doctor about your medical history of any surgery, STD, pelvic disease, miscarriage, etc. or whether you are taking any medicines.
  • After evaluating the symptoms, your doctor will proceed with a transvaginal ultrasound.
  • Your doctor will suggest you to drink water (fill your bladder completely or partially) to get a clear picture
  • If you are undergoing the test during your periods, then you need to take the tampon out
  • You change your dress with a hospital gown and then lie down on the table with your knees bent and feet in stirrups

What happens during the test?

The device used during transvaginal ultrasound is a probe which is also known as transducer. It emits sound waves that reflect from your internal reproductive organs, which are then received by the computer to produce clear images.

The probe is lubricated with a gel and covered with a condom. It’s then inserted through the vagina and moved to the proximity of the pelvic organs to diagnose the underlying cause.

You may need to change positions during the test and make sure you breathe normally

The doctor may perform another type of transvaginal ultrasound method called saline infusion sonography (SIS) in which a small volume of salt solution is inserted in the uterus to get a better view It’s also called sonohysterography or hysterosonography. SIS is not performed on pregnant women and you do not need to fill your bladder before the test.

The test takes 30-60 minutes for completion

What to expect after the test?

The test is usually painless, though some women may sense certain degree of discomfort and pressure when the device is inserted.

The results are produced immediately. The radiologist or the technician might discuss the reports with your doctor and then reveal it to you. Your doctor will explain you the reports and based on that he will suggest the treatment and further tests if needed.

You should be able to resume your daily chores the next day. There are no health hazards reported except for mild cramping or spotting for a few days.

Transvaginal ultrasound is absolutely safe on health since no radiation is involved. However, make sure you clarify all your doubts with your doctor and listen to his advice for the betterment of your health.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 11, 2015

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