Patient Instructions for Transvaginal and Transabdominal Pelvic Ultrasounds
Your provider has recommended that you have a gynecologic pelvic ultrasound. This is a test in which sound waves are used to create a picture of the organs and structures in the lower belly (pelvis). The test is performed by a certified sonographer. First, a small handheld device called a transducer is passed back and forth over the lower belly. Next, a narrow lubricated transducer is inserted into a woman’s vagina to take additional images. This allows visualization of the uterus , tubes and ovaries as well as other pelvic structures. The test usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
To prepare for the test, you will be asked to undress below the waist. The sonographer may ask you to empty your bladder and possibly leave a urine sample before the trans-vaginal portion of the study.
If you have been told there will be a transabdominal portion for your study, please do the following. Empty your bladder one and a half hours prior to the appointment time. At one hour before the appointment, drink 24 ounces of non-carbonated fluid, preferably water. Avoid carbonated beverages (these have gas bubbles that remain in the bowel which can interrupt the sound waves that are necessary to make the ultrasound picture). Finish drinking the fluid prior to checking in for the appointment. PLEASE DO NOT URINATE PRIOR TO THE EXAMINATION. We may need your bladder full for the ultrasound exam.
In cycling women, we prefer to schedule the study in the immediate post-menstrual phase (last few days of staining of your period or immediately thereafter). If you are postmenopausal, have had a hysterectomy, have a Mirena IUD or are on combined hormonal contraception, then the study can performed at any point without concern for menstrual timing.
If your ultrasound shows any abnormalities within the cavity of the uterus, we may recommend you have a Saline Infusion Sonogram (or Sonohysterogram). In this case, the sonographer may ask a physician to enter the room to insert a small flexible catheter past the cervix to allow a tiny amount fluid to be instilled into the uterus creating better visualization of the interior uterus.
Once the provider has had an opportunity to review the images and the sonographer’s report, you will be notified of the results and recommendations.