A vaginal ultrasound scan is a diagnostic test that can give your doctor images of your:
- Uterus, including its lining (endometrium)
- Ovaries and cysts
Ultrasound uses sound waves to generate images of your body’s internal organs and tissues. These sound waves can’t be heard by the human ear. Ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation.
Sometimes, you may also have an abdominal ultrasound scan (where a probe is run across the surface of your abdomen), because putting the two scans together can give your doctor an especially good idea of what is happening inside your body.
Your scan will be carried out by your gynaecologist, a specialist nurse or a sonographer (a technician trained in ultrasound).
You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down and given a drape to cover the lower half of your body. A cover (like a condom) is put on the ultrasound probe, it is lubricated, and then it is introduced into your vagina. If you want to, you can put the probe in yourself. It is slender – if you’ve had an examination using a speculum, it is smaller than this. In addition to being covered with a protective sheath that is changed for each patient, the probe is cleaned between uses.
Throughout the scan, the images will be displayed on a screen in real time. You can watch the screen if you want to. The images can be captured on a computer system if your doctor wants to look at them later. Print-outs are often filed in your records. If you’re having a pregnancy scan, you may be offered a print-out to keep.
You won’t need any recovery time for a vaginal ultrasound and you should be able to get back to your normal activities right away.
The person doing your scan may be able to tell you some information on the day. They will also write up a formal report for the professional who requested the scan.
A vaginal ultrasound scan is a very useful test to help diagnose a wide range of women’s health conditions. Your gynaecologist might recommend this scan if you are experiencing:
- Pain in your pelvic area
- Painful, heavy or irregular periods
- Bleeding after the menopause (post-menopausal bleeding or PMB)
- Bladder or urinary problems
- Problems with an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Swelling in your abdomen
- Lack of periods.
This test can help your gynaecologist confirm or rule out various conditions, including:
It is also useful in diagnosing fertility problems and is used to assist with various procedures during fertility treatment.
Tell your clinician if you are allergic to latex, so they can ensure a latex-free cover is used on the probe (although most covers are now latex-free). You might find the probe a bit uncomfortable during your scan but it should not be painful. Unlike X-rays and other types of scans, you are not exposed to ionizing radiation when you have an ultrasound scan.
Make an enquiry by email, ask us to call you back, or fast-track your treatment by booking an appointment with one of our skilled gynaecologists, for quick and expert care.