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Patient Information Guide: Female Reproductive Scans

Knowledge Hub

4 mins readFact Checked
Author of post icon

Written By:

Atif Riaz

Medically Reviewed By:

Mr M. Usman

Introduction

This guide explains ultrasound scans that are performed on the female reproductive organs, how to prepare for it, what happens during the scan and possible risks. This examination can be performed at any time in pregnancy, during menstruation (period) or after menopause.

We hope it will help to answer some of the questions you may have. If you have any further questions or concerns, please speak to a member of our team.

What is an ultrasound scan?

Ultrasound is a tool that allows healthcare professionals to see inside your body to help diagnose medical conditions. An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound saves and computers to visualise the internal organs and other structures inside the body. Ultrasound scans are very safe and do not use radiation or X-rays.

How does it work?

The ultrasound scan is performed by either a sonographer or a doctor who is highly trained to carry out these scans. They could be a male or female. The healthcare professional uses a hand-held device called a transducer, which transmits sound waves into the body.

The scan may involve:

  • Transabdominal scanning (TAS) – where a small transducer is moved over your lower abdomen
  • Transvaginal scanning (TVS) – where a small wand-like transducer is inserted into your vagina. This will only be offered to women who are sexually active.

The scan can take between 10 -30 minutes.

What do I need to do before my scan?

Transabdominal scanning:

  • A full bladder is required if you are having an over-the-tummy (transabdominal scan) or if the transvaginal scan is not appropriate, i.e. if you are not sexually active.

Transvaginal scanning:

  • There is no specific preparation required for a transvaginal scan. However, we advise you to wear loose-fitting clothing over the scanned area.

Please note that children are not allowed in the scan room. If a child needs to come to your ultrasound scan with you, please organise for a responsible adult to supervise them in the waiting area.

Can I bring a friend or relative?

You may bring a friend or relative with you to your appointment and if you wish, they can usually accompany you into the examination room. You can request to have a female chaperone present during the scan.

What happens during the procedure?

Transabdominal scanning

The scans are performed in a modern ultrasound scan room that may be dimly lit to see the images produced on the screen more clearly. We will ask you to lie down on an examination couch. We will then put ultrasound gel on your skin over your lower abdomen. This will help us to produce a better-quality image. We will move an ultrasound transducer (probe) over your skin. We may need to press quite firmly in the area where you may be having pain. Please let us know if you feel uncomfortable at any point during the scan.

Transvaginal scanning

You may be offered a transvaginal scan rather than a transabdominal scan. A transvaginal scan is particularly useful to evaluate the womb and ovaries or to assess for pregnancy. It is the best method to assess the uterine lining and early pregnancy.

The scans are performed in a modern ultrasound scan room that may be dimly lit to see the images produced on the screen more clearly. You will be asked to go to the toilet and empty your bladder. Transvaginal scans can be carried out at any stage of your menstrual cycle, including during your period. If you are wearing a tampon or menstrual cup, you will need to remove it at this stage. When you return to the scan room, we will ask you to undress from the waist down and lie on the examination couch. We will give you a paper sheet or gown to cover yourself with. The scan is performed using a long and narrow transducer or vaginal probe. The probe is disinfected, cleaned before use, and covered with a sterile protective sheath. It is lubricated with a gel to make its insertion into the vagina more comfortable. The probe will be moved around inside the vagina to visualise the internal organs. It is usually a painless procedure and will feel very similar to having an internal examination. Occasionally however some people may feel discomfort. If you experience any pain please inform the sonographer immediately. The examination may take between 10 – 20 minutes.

What happens after the scan?

When the scan is finished you will be given a paper towel to wipe off any gel and you will be able to dress and leave. You will be able to return to your usual daily activities.

Are there any risks

Ultrasound scanning does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays) and is considered a very safe test. Some women may feel tenderness in the area that has been examined however this usually resolves within a few hours. Occasionally there may be minor vaginal bleeding.

How do I get my results?

A written report of the scan will be sent to your nominated email within 48 hours following the scan.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns before your appointment, please contact our customer care team at 02039047706.

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Fact Check Information

The Scan Clinic is committed to providing accurate and objective educational content about health and medical related topics. We know that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and we take our responsibility to be a trustworthy source of information seriously. Every article on our site is thoroughly fact-checked by our team of writers.

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