The second method of imaging your uterus and
ovaries is using a vaginal ultrasound transducer. The transducer crystals are
located on the end of the probe that goes into your vagina. The technologist
manipulates the probe with a handle. This method of looking at your uterus and
ovaries is much better than the abdominal approach because the transducer is
closer to your pelvic organs. The end of the probe is right against your
cervix. Because the technologist doesnít have to look through your muscle, fat,
or intestines like in the abdominal approach, the images are much better with
the transvaginal probe.
Vaginal ultrasound probe
After you have emptied your bladder, you will
be asked to lie on your back on the table with your feet in stirrups or your
bottom propped up with a pillow. This allows the technologist to have a good
range of motion with the probe. After you have been positioned, the
technologist will insert the probe into your vagina, or ask you to do it. If
you wish to do it, let the technologist know.
After the probe is inserted, the technologist
will be moving it around to visualize your uterus and ovaries. Sometimes it may
be uncomfortable because the ovaries can lie far to the right or left, up or
The probe will be covered with a non-latex
sheath or condom that will be removed after use. The probe will also be
disinfected prior to the next use.
Many facilities require that a chaperone be
present, just as it is when you have a pelvic exam from your gynecologist. Male
technologists always do this and many facilities require one even when a female
is doing the exam. If a chaperone isnít present for your exam, you are welcome
to ask for one.
The other good thing about a vaginal
ultrasound is that your bladder has to be empty. Many women find the vaginal
ultrasound to be much more comfortable than having a full bladder and the
technologist pushing on it to obtain good images from your abdomen.
With a skilled technologist, a pelvic
ultrasound, including a vaginal ultrasound, shouldnít take much more than ten or
fifteen minutes. In many facilities, the technologist will have to show the
pictures to the radiologist before you leave to make sure that everything has
been visualized. In some cases, the pictures may not be good enough and the
radiologist may suggest a pelvic MRI.
If you are on your period, you should remove
your tampon if youíre wearing one, when you are asked to empty your bladder.
The test wonít be affected by you being on your period and the technologist
wonít either! Donít worry about it.
Vaginal ultrasound is not usually done on
girls that have never been sexually active. Your technologist may spend more
time looking through your abdomen and may be more insistent that your bladder is
properly filled. If for any reason you donít want to have a vaginal ultrasound,
please let your technologist know. Itís always your right to refuse any medical