Diagnosis using transvaginal ultrasound
A transvaginal ultrasound is a pelvic ultrasound that is used to see reproductive organs. For example, the uterus, ovaries, cervix, and vagina.
The procedure involves the internal use of an ultrasound wand, rather than simply applying the wand to the outside of the pelvis as done in a regular pelvic ultrasound.
What to expect from a transvaginal ultrasound
You will be asked to remove your clothes and put on a gown or cover for the procedure. You may be asked to have an empty or partially filled bladder at the time of the ultrasound, this will depend on what the doctor is looking for. This is because it lifts the intestines away and allows for a clearer picture of your pelvic organs. You can have this procedure performed during your period or if you’re spotting, but if you are wearing a tampon, you will have to take it out before the ultrasound.
You will need to lie down on an examination table with your feet placed in stirrups. The ultrasound wand will be covered with a condom and lubricating gel and inserted into your vagina.
You may feel some pressure from the wand, similar to that of a speculum, the tool used during a Pap smear. Sound waves will bounce off your internal organs and transmit pictures of the inside of your pelvis onto a monitor. The technician or doctor will move the wand a little bit inside you in order to get a comprehensive picture of your organs.
A special type of transvaginal ultrasound is called a saline infusion sonography (SIS). This procedure involves inserting sterile salt water into the uterus before the ultrasound to help identify any possible masses. The saline solution stretches the uterus slightly, providing a more detailed picture of the inside of the uterus than a conventional ultrasound. Although a transvaginal ultrasound can be done on a pregnant woman, SIS cannot.
There are virtually no risks associated with a transvaginal ultrasound. There may be slight discomfort.