What is a Gynecologic Ultrasound?
A GYN ultrasound is used to evaluate pelvic organs including the uterus, endometrium, and ovaries. Your doctor may order a GYN scan if you have a history of ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids. Likewise, your doctor may order this test if you have a history of pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, infertility, or miscarriage. This procedure may simply be referred to as a pelvic ultrasound. You may also hear the terms “pelvic scan” or “pelvic sonography.”
GYN Doppler Ultrasound
Doppler ultrasound may be utilized at the time of GYN ultrasound if a cyst or polyp is noted. Doppler ultrasounds measure the speed and direction of blood flow through the abdomen. This allows your gynecologist to test for narrow or blocked blood vessels.
3D GYN Ultrasound
3D GYN ultrasound may be performed if a uterine anomaly is suspected. Sometimes it is used to evaluate polyps and fibroids within the endometrial cavity. A 3D ultrasound shows organs and structures within the body in higher detail compared to a traditional 2D ultrasound, making it more effective in diagnosing issues such as fibroids, polyps, or uterine abnormalities.
Why Would a Gynecologic Ultrasound Be Necessary?
Some reasons why your gynecologist may recommend an ultrasound include:
- Detect or diagnose structural issues in the uterus or ovaries
- Detect, diagnose, or screen for cancer of the ovaries, uterus, or bladder
- Find or check on your IUD
- Check for abnormal growths such as fibroids, cysts, and non-cancerous tumors
- Diagnose the cause for abnormal bleeding
- Evaluate fertility issues
- Check for issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Guide an endometrial biopsy and find a tissue sample
What is the Gynecologic Ultrasound Procedure Like?
The process for your gynecologic ultrasound will vary depending on whether you require a transabdominal or transvaginal procedure.
In a transabdominal procedure, you will be asked to drink 32 ounces of water (or another clear fluid) at least one hour before your ultrasound. This ensures that your bladder will be full through the procedure, allowing for a clear picture. During your transabdominal ultrasound, you will lie on your back on the exam table, and a technician will apply gel to the handheld portion of the ultrasound device known as a transducer. The transducer will then be moved gently over your abdomen.
Before a transvaginal ultrasound, your bladder must be empty, so you will be asked to use the restroom before your procedure. You will then lie on your back on the exam table and may put your feet in stirrups. Your technician will then cover a small transducer in a plastic or latex covering and gel. It can then be inserted into your vagina, similar to the process of applying a tampon.
Do Gynecological Ultrasounds Hurt?
Ultrasounds can be performed either transabdominally or transvaginally. Some women experience discomfort during a transvaginal ultrasound, so make sure to communicate any pain or discomfort to your technician.
What Does a Gynecological Ultrasound Show?
A gynecological ultrasound is an effective way to map your pelvic organs like the uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This can help your gynecologist get a better idea of your anatomy if they believe something may be abnormal during a regular appointment.
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