What is a transvaginal ultrasound?
A transvaginal ultrasound (also known as an endovaginal ultrasound) is a safe and straightforward internal examination of organs in the female pelvic region.
It involves the insertion of a device called a transducer (probe) into the vagina to produce incredibly detailed images.
What is it used for?
Some symptoms and medical conditions, such as endometriosis, require images of a higher quality than those produced during a transabdominal ultrasound. It may be necessary to examine the following:
- Fallopian tubes
- Urinary bladder
A transvaginal ultrasound is useful to check for:
- Ovarian cysts or tumors
It may also be necessary for:
- Pelvic pain
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Abnormal results from a pelvic or abdominal exam
Or, it may be recommended for pregnant women to:
- Check the heartbeat of the fetus
- Confirm the date of pregnancy
- Assess the condition of the placenta
- Check for ectopic pregnancy
- Monitor pregnancies with a higher risk of miscarriage
How will a transvaginal ultrasound feel and how do I prepare?
A transvaginal ultrasound is a simple and painless procedure with no preparation.
The transducer can cause some pressure which may be mildly uncomfortable, however this feeling should subside once the ultrasound has finished. Dr Flynn encourages his patients to communicate any concerns and/or if anything feels uncomfortable.
If you have your period and are wearing a tampon, you will need to remove it before the ultrasound.
Once inside the examination room, the patient is provided with a sheet to cover themselves and will be asked to undress from the waist down. The patient will then lie down on the examination table with their knees bent.
The transducer resembles a wand in shape and is covered with a condom and lubricating gel before inserted into the vagina. Once in place, it will produce sound waves that bounce off the internal organs back to it. Dr Flynn will use side-to-side rotational movements to bring different areas into focus.
Risks and side effects
As transvaginal ultrasounds do not use any radiation, they are very safe with no known risks.
It is perfectly safe to perform transvaginal ultrasounds when women are pregnant and the procedure presents no risk to the fetus.