Ultrasounds have been used safely for over 50 years to create images of internal organs using high-frequency sound waves. These imaging tests play a crucial role in identifying abnormalities, diagnosing medical conditions and effectively treating dangerous conditions. At Fort Worth Center for Pelvic Medicine in Fort Worth, TX, we are proud to be on the cutting edge of the identification and diagnosis of numerous abnormalities and medical conditions using the transvaginal ultrasound.
What Is a Transvaginal Ultrasound?
A transvaginal ultrasound, also known as an endovaginal ultrasound, is a type of pelvic ultrasound used to identify abnormalities within female reproductive organs. These organs include the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This type of ultrasound varies from traditional abdominal or pelvic ultrasounds, which involve using a transducer resting outside the pelvis.
The word “transvaginal” means “through the vagina” because this is an internal exam designed to give doctors a very clear look inside the vaginal canal, at the internal organs, and at all other areas within the pelvic region.
When Is a Transvaginal Ultrasound Recommended?
A transvaginal ultrasound is recommended for many circumstances. The most common include:
- Pelvic pain
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Abnormal abdominal or pelvic imaging exam
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Suspicion of uterine fibroids or cysts
- Confirmation of properly placed IUD
During pregnancy, a doctor will most often recommend an endovaginal ultrasound to:
- Confirm an early pregnancy
- Examine the placenta for abnormalities
- Monitor the heartbeat of your fetus
- Identify potentially dangerous changes to the cervix
- Identify the cause of abnormal bleeding
- Diagnose a potential miscarriage
What Will the Results Show?
The results of a transvaginal ultrasound can diagnose a number of medical conditions. Once the images are analyzed, your doctor will talk to you about which steps need to be taken to improve your health, if any.
For example, if you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may go into early menopause and start to suffer from the symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness, pain during sex and hot flashes. Dr. Alan Johns may recommend MonaLisa Touch to dramatically improve vaginal health, libido, comfort and confidence.
Among the things your doctor may see upon examining your endovaginal ultrasound include:
- Healthy pregnancy
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic infection
- Placenta previa
- Cancer affecting the reproductive organs
What Can I Expect During an Endovaginal Ultrasound?
Before an endovaginal ultrasound, you will lie down on the examination table on your back and bend your needs. The transducer is covered with a condom and lubricating gel, then inserted. During your initial consultation, let us know if you are aware of any latex allergies so we can accommodate your needs with a latex-free probe cover.
You may feel a slight pressure when the ultrasound wand is inserted. This sensation is no greater than the pressure felt during a Pap smear when the speculum is inserted. Once the ultrasound wand is in place, it produces sound waves which bounce off of your internal organs to transmit a picture of the inside of your pelvis onto a viewing monitor. During the examination, your provider will rotate the transducer slowly to get a full picture of your internal organs. In some cases, an SIS may be recommended.
What Is an SIS?
An SIS, or saline infusion sonography, is a special type of endovaginal ultrasound. It involves the insertion of sterile saline into the uterus before the ultrasound takes place. This technique is popular because the solution slightly stretches the uterus, allowing for a more detailed picture of the uterus.
This is extremely helpful when trying to identify a potential abnormality within the uterus. However, it cannot be used on pregnant women or women with an active vaginal infection.
What Are the Risks of an Endovaginal Ultrasound?
There are no risks associated with an endovaginal ultrasound. If you’re worried about how the examination will feel, take a Tylenol a couple of hours before your ultrasound. If you feel anything more significant than a mild pressure, let your doctor know. The angle of the transducer will be adjusted so the rest of the examination is comfortable.
How Should I Prepare for an Endovaginal Ultrasound?
In most cases, an endovaginal ultrasound requires very little preparation on your part. When it is time for your appointment, you will be asked to remove all your clothes from the waist down and put on a gown. Depending on why you are having the internal vaginal ultrasound, the examination may need to be performed with an empty or partially full bladder.
The advantage of a full bladder is it lifts the intestines, which allows for a better picture of your pelvic organs. If your endovaginal ultrasound needs to be performed with a full bladder, you must prepare for your ultrasound by drinking roughly 32 ounces of liquid, such as water, an hour before the examination takes place. If you are menstruating or spotting on the day of your examination, you must remove your tampon or menstrual cup before the examination can take place.
Learn More Today
A transvaginal ultrasound can be used to identify abnormalities affecting your sex organs, diagnose medical conditions, verify the health of your internal organs, and check up on the state of your pregnancy.
To learn more, contact the professional health experts at Fort Worth Center for Pelvic Medicine in Fort Worth, TX today to schedule your initial consultation. We will review your symptoms and medical history to determine what steps we need to take moving forward to improve your quality of life.