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Understanding Transvaginal Ultrasound: Purpose, Preparation, and Results




Transvaginal ultrasound is a vital diagnostic tool in women's healthcare that offers detailed insights into pelvic health. This article provides a comprehensive exploration of the procedure, its uses, and benefits in ensuring female reproductive well-being.

What is a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

A transvaginal ultrasound, also known as endovaginal ultrasound, is a medical procedure utilised to examine female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, cervix, and fallopian tubes. Unlike a traditional abdominal ultrasound, where the ultrasound wand (transducer) is placed on the abdomen's surface, transvaginal ultrasound involves inserting a probe directly into the vagina for a closer view of the pelvic organs.

What is the Difference Between an Ultrasound and a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

USG, in its full form, stands for Ultrasonography. It is a broad term referring to the medical imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal body structures. It encompasses various types of ultrasound procedures, including abdominal ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound.

While ultrasound uses a non-invasive technique to generate images of internal abdominal structures, transvaginal ultrasound offers superior visualisation and details due to the transducer's proximity to your pelvic organs.

When is a Transvaginal Ultrasound Performed?

Transvaginal ultrasound is used to investigate the pelvic cavity thoroughly and address various gynaecological concerns such as abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, and infertility. Another transvaginal ultrasound purpose is to monitor the growth and development of your foetus during pregnancy.

When Would a Transvaginal Ultrasound be Needed?

The most significant purpose of transvaginal ultrasound is a diagnosis of various gynaecological conditions and reproductive health concerns, like:

Endometriosis Evaluation: Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus may grow outside on your ovaries or other pelvic organs, commonly resulting in chronic pelvic pain or painful periods. A transvaginal ultrasound can help visualise any endometrial implants and adhesions within the pelvic cavity.

Ovarian Cyst Assessment: If you suspect ovarian cysts, characterised by pelvic pain or irregular menstruation, you may undergo a transvaginal ultrasound to confirm and assess the size and composition of the cysts. This helps to rule out potential complications such as ovarian rupture, which affects the release and quality of eggs.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Diagnosis: Transvaginal ultrasound plays a crucial role in diagnosing PCOS. It reveals the characteristic appearance of multiple small follicles (fluid-filled sacs containing eggs) within the ovaries, along with other associated findings such as increased ovarian volume and thickened ovarian capsules.

Uterine Fibroids Detection: For women experiencing symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure, or frequent urination, a transvaginal ultrasound can identify the presence, size, and location of uterine fibroids, aiding in treatment planning and management decisions.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Evaluation: In cases of suspected PID, which may manifest as lower abdominal pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, or fever, a transvaginal ultrasound can detect signs of inflammation or infection within the reproductive organs. This helps in getting treatment promptly to prevent complications such as tubal scarring (formation of scar tissue in the fallopian tube connecting ovaries to the uterus) or infertility.

Fertility Issues: For those struggling with infertility, a transvaginal ultrasound may be a part of the diagnostic process to evaluate the health of reproductive organs, assess ovarian reserve (quantity and quality of eggs available for fertilisation), and identify any anatomical abnormalities that could affect fertility.

Early Pregnancy: Transvaginal ultrasound pregnancy assessment is commonly performed during the early stages of conception. This procedure aims to confirm the presence of a gestational sac, assess fetal viability, determine gestational age, and detect potential complications such as ectopic pregnancy (fertilised egg implants outside the uterus) or miscarriage.

Fetal Development: Throughout pregnancy, transvaginal ultrasounds may be utilised to monitor the growth and development of your foetus, evaluate its anatomy, and detect any abnormalities or developmental issues that may require medical intervention.

Who Performs a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

Trained sonographers or radiologists typically conduct transvaginal ultrasounds in a medical facility equipped with ultrasound technology. These professionals possess expertise in operating ultrasound equipment and interpreting the obtained images.

How Does a Transvaginal Ultrasound Work?

During the procedure, your healthcare provider will gently insert a condom-covered lubricated transducer probe into the vagina. This probe emits high-frequency sound waves that penetrate your pelvic organs and surrounding structures, bouncing back to create real-time clear images on a monitor.

How Long Does a Transvaginal Ultrasound Take?

The duration of a transvaginal ultrasound varies depending on the specific purpose and complexity of the examination. Generally, the procedure lasts between 15 to 30 minutes, although it may be extended if additional evaluations or measurements are necessary.

How Do I Prepare for a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

Transvaginal ultrasound preparation takes minimal effort from your side. Your healthcare provider may advise you to drink water and avoid urinating before the procedure to ensure a full bladder, which can aid in obtaining clearer images of the pelvic organs. Additionally, wearing comfortable clothing and informing the healthcare provider of any medical conditions or allergies can be considered as part of transvaginal ultrasound preparation.

What Should I Expect During a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

During the procedure, you'll be asked to lie on your back on an examination table with your feet placed in stirrups, similar to a pelvic exam. The transducer probe will then be gently inserted into your vagina, causing minimal discomfort. The healthcare provider may turn the probe to capture images from various angles while explaining the process and addressing any concerns you may have.

Is a Transvaginal Ultrasound Painful?

While some individuals may experience slight discomfort or pressure during the insertion of the transducer probe, the procedure is generally well-tolerated and causes minimal pain. The probe is well-lubricated before the insertion, and it bends around your body. This, coupled with the gentle technique employed by your healthcare provider, helps mitigate discomfort.

What Are the Risks of a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

Unlike the risk of radiation exposure in X-rays, transvaginal ultrasounds are considered safe with minimal associated threats. Rarely some individuals may experience minor vaginal bleeding or irritation following the procedure. However, serious complications are exceedingly rare.

What Type of Results Do You Get After a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

Following the procedure, the obtained images are interpreted by a radiologist or healthcare provider who analyses the transvaginal ultrasound result and provides a comprehensive report. Depending on the purpose, your transvaginal ultrasound results may include assessments of pelvic organ health, pregnancy viability, foetal development, or identification of abnormalities requiring further evaluation or treatment.


In navigating the realm of women's health, understanding procedures like transvaginal ultrasound is crucial for informed decision-making and proactive healthcare management, especially pelvic wellness and pregnancy care.

At Metropolis Lab, we prioritise your health and well-being, offering state-of-the-art diagnostic services. Trust in our commitment to delivering accurate results and personalised care, empowering you to prioritise your reproductive health with confidence.

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