What To Expect From A Transvaginal Sonogram
Sometimes referred to as a vaginal ultrasound, a transvaginal sonogram is one of the diagnostic tools that a physician will use to determine the presence and current status of ovarian cancer. The process makes it possible for the doctor to assess the condition of not only the ovaries, but also the cervix, uterus, and vagina. Many women who have never undergone this type of test are understandably a little nervous. Here are a few basic facts about how the sonogram is conducted, what you as a patient will experience, and how long it takes to obtain the results from the test.
Preparing for a transvaginal sonogram is a relatively simple process. Your bladder must be empty in order for the test to be accurate. For this reason, the physician may ask that you not drink anything for several hours before undergoing the sonogram. Once the time for the test arrives, you will be asked to undress from the waist down and lie on a table. During the process, the feet are placed in stirrups and the knees are bent.
With you in place, your physician will initiate the process by preparing a transducer for insertion into your vagina. Commonly referred to as a probe, this device uses waves to create images that help your doctor assess the current condition of the reproductive system. A monitor that is attached to the probe allows your doctor to view the images in real time. After placing a condom over the probe and lubricating the device with a gel, it is inserted into your vagina and begins to transmit the images.
The image below is a good graphical representation of what the procedure looks like:
An additional process that is known as saline infusion sonography is sometimes employed as part of the transvaginal sonogram. This involves introducing a small amount of saline solution into the uterus before the test begins. The saline can make it easier to capture a clear image of any unusual masses on the ovaries or in other areas of the reproductive system. However, this additional process is not used if you are pregnant.
For many women, this test is slightly uncomfortable during the initial insertion process, but this amount of pain usually fades in a moment or two. It is important to note that only a small portion of the device is actually inserted. However, there are women who do experience pain during the testing. It is important to alert your doctor immediately if the pain level continues to increase as the process continues. Any pain experienced during the test usually goes away immediately when the probe is withdrawn.
A transvaginal sonogram can detect health issues other than the presence of ovarian cancer. A malignancy in the uterus or vagina can also be identified using this test. During the course of a transvaginal sonogram, your physician can also identify any presence of infection in the general area, any twisting of the ovaries, and the presence of any cysts or other growths that are benign in nature.
Because the results of the sonogram are viewed in real time, it is very easy for a physician to tell you about anything he or she sees, and determine if more testing is necessary to confirm or deny the presence of cancer in the ovaries or elsewhere in the reproductive system.