Answers To Some Important Questions About Transvaginal Ultrasounds

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If you have spoken to your gynecologist or general physician about a medical problem that involves your reproductive system, then you may need to go through some tests so a diagnosis can be made. These tests may include a transvaginal ultrasound. The procedure may not be particularly pleasant, but it is often needed. Before you schedule the procedure, make sure to understand some answers to some common questions that individuals have about the procedure.

Is A Transvaginal Ultrasound Necessary?

Transvaginal ultrasounds are typically completed instead of traditional abdominal ultrasounds. In some cases, your physician can choose between the two procedures and will expect to see some of the same imaging results. However, this is not always the case. 

Ultrasounds use high-frequency sounds waves to produce images. The images are created as the waves bounce off the organs inside your body. Specifically, the waves release from the probe, hit the organs, and bounce back to the probe. Images are produced based on the amount of time it takes for the waves to come to the probe. Unfortunately, images may not always be as clear as they should be. This happens when there is a great deal of subcutaneous fat in the region or when organs get in the way of viewing other organs. 

If you are somewhat overweight or if you have a good deal of belly fat, then a transvaginal ultrasound may be required. Also, if the physician needs to look closely at the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, or the uterus, then the ultrasound will be needed. You may also need the procedure if the doctor needs to examine the cervix. 

Do You Need To Drink Water?

Many women dread ultrasounds due to the amount of water they need to consume beforehand. You will typically be asked to drink a full 32 ounces of water so the bladder is full during the procedure. A full bladder helps to push up the uterus, and it also helps to separate the organs so they can be identified and viewed properly. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly difficult for pregnant women to hold fluid in the bladder for an extended period of time. 

Transvaginal ultrasounds do not require you to have a full bladder during the procedure. The probe is angled much differently than the one used during an abdominal procedure. Also, the device will sit a lot closer to the organs being viewed, so it is easier to get a clear image. 

If images of your bladder are needed to complete the ultrasound, then you may need a partially full bladder during the procedure. However, it is much easier to drink and retain 16 ounces of fluid than 32 ounces.

Is The Procedure Uncomfortable?

While a transvaginal ultrasound is unlikely to be pleasant, it also will not be too uncomfortable either. The probe will be inserted into the vagina and will be angled slightly to the left, right, up, and down. The probe will be a relatively slender plastic device. To make sure the test is a sanitary one, the probe will be fitted with a latex condom or another type of cover. In many cases, a water-based lubricant will be used as well to reduce friction concerns. If you do have a latex allergy, it is wise to speak up well before the procedure begins. This way a latex free probe cover can be utilized.

It is best to relax before and during the procedure to keep the ultrasound as comfortable as possible. Make sure to remain calm and relax the muscles. Also, try not to clench when the probe is inserted. Most ultrasounds are completed in about 30 minutes, so the procedure will be over before you know it. For more information, check out a site like