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This guide explains what a transvaginal ultrasound scan is, how to prepare for it, what happens during the scan and possible risks. This examination can be performed at any time of life – in pregnancy, during menstruation (period) or after menopause. However, you will not be offered a transvaginal scan if you have never had sexual intercourse.
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 a transvaginal 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. A transvaginal scan is especially useful for evaluating the womb and ovaries or assessing a pregnancy. It is the best method to assess the uterine lining and fetus.
How does it work?
The private ultrasound scan is performed by either a Sonographer who is highly trained to carry out these scans. The sonographer uses a hand-held device called a transducer, which transmits sound waves into the body. For a transvaginal scan, the transducer is covered with a sterile cover and is inserted into the vagina. The sound saves are reflected back to the transducer from the various structures and tissues inside the pelvis. The returning sound waves are converted by a computer into a moving image of the body’s internal structures and are displayed on the ultrasound screen.
What do I need to do before my scan?
- 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.
- 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.
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. Your sonographer could be a male or female. You will also have a female chaperone present during the scan.
What happens during the procedure?
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 cleaned before use and covered with a sterile protective sheath. It is lubricated with a water-based gel to make its insertion into the vagina more comfortable. It is usually a painless procedure and will feel very similar to having an internal examination. 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.
If you have any questions or concerns before your appointment, please contact our customer care team at 02039047706.