An endovaginal or transvaginal ultrasound is when an ultrasound wand is inserted inside a woman’s vagina in order to get a far more accurate reading of the reproductive organ than if the ultrasound was passed over the belly. Despite its description, it is nowhere nearly as painful as a routine gynecological exam.
First Coast News lists a transvaginal ultrasound as one of the top five medical tests that could save a woman’s life. Although only inserted into the vagina, it can also get an accurate reading of the ovaries and uterus. This test has been able to help doctors diagnose a variety of conditions like entopic pregnancies, endometriosis, ovarian cysts or tumors.
Unlike many other type of medical tests, a woman does not have to fast or even shave her legs or pubic area before the test. Although there are some websites that claim a woman should have a full bladder when the test is performed, this will not be the case for all women. They may be asked to empty their bladders right before the test.
Women will have to strip from the waist down. Be sure to wear pants, panties, socks and shoes that you can slip in and out of relatively quickly. You will be offered a very large paper towel to cover yourself as discretely as possible. When the technician is ready, you will have to place your feet in the usual gynecological stirrups, place your buttocks as close as you can to the edge of the bench without losing your balance and lean back. You will not be able to see the ultrasound screen.
The ultrasound technician can be a woman or a man and will not usually be a gynecologist. If the ultrasound technician is a man, there should be a nurse or female gynecologist present, too. If the technician is a woman, then it is normal for you to be alone in the room with the female technician.
The technician should be wearing disposable latex gloves and should place a condom on the ultrasound wand. Usually, there is also a water-soluble lubricant placed on the condom. The wand is over a foot long – but less than six inches is needed to be inserted inside of your vagina.
Any woman that never has had a gynecological exam or sexual intercourse will find this ultrasound painful. Staying still, taking deep breaths and talking to the technician can certainly help you relax the muscles of the pelvic area and make the procedure be done as quickly as possible.
But if a woman is familiar with gynecological exams and has had vaginal intercourse and found it not so painful, then there will not be much of a sensation to the ultrasound wand. It can be uncomfortable when the technician moves the wand about, but does not border on painful. Many women claim that menstrual cramps feel worse.
However, a woman that has tumors, endometriosis or is recovering to an injury to the pelvic area may find the wand’s movements painful. If you have reason to believe the test will be painful, talk to the technician before hand. The technician can then apply pressure tests to note where you are most sensitive. You also should be able to take some painkillers before the exam. The medications will not affect the ultrasound.
First Coast News.com “Five Tests That Could Save Your Life.” http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/news-article.aspx?storyid=27390
MedicinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. “Transvaginal Ultrasound.” http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003779.htm
Radiology Info: “Pelvic Ultrasound.” http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=pelvus