Is Transvaginal Ultrasound Testing Safe?

Jan 12, 2024
Is Transvaginal Ultrasound Testing Safe?
Transvaginal ultrasound imaging exams give your doctor a detailed view of your uterus, ovaries, and other organs and structures. But are they safe? We have the answer.

Ultrasound is widely used during pregnancy to monitor the health of both the baby and the mom-to-be. But there are other uses for ultrasounds and other types of ultrasounds, too, including transvaginal ultrasounds that use a different technique than the abdominal ultrasounds typically associated with pregnancy.

At OB/GYN Associates of Conroe in Conroe, Texas, Richard Roberts, MD, uses transvaginal ultrasounds to evaluate the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic structures. In this post, learn when transvaginal ultrasound is used, how it’s performed, and whether it’s safe for you.

Transvaginal ultrasound basics

Like an abdominal ultrasound that’s used to track a baby’s growth, a transvaginal ultrasound uses ultrasonic waves to create images of structures inside your body. But while an abdominal ultrasound uses a device placed on your belly, a transvaginal ultrasound uses a special wand-shaped device that’s inserted into the vagina.

During your imaging visit, you lie back on a table in a darkened room while Dr. Roberts or the ultrasound technician gently inserts the lubricated wand into the vaginal canal. Once the wand is in position, your provider moves it gently to capture a variety of images of your reproductive organs.

The wand emits ultrasound waves that “bounce off” internal structures. These returning waves are captured by the ultrasound device, which uses the data to create images.

Because they use a wand inserted in the vaginal canal, transvaginal ultrasounds can obtain far clearer and more detailed images than an abdominal ultrasound, making it an important tool in diagnosing and managing an array of issues. Transvaginal ultrasounds are routinely used to:

  • Diagnose the cause of irregular bleeding
  • Assess fertility issues
  • Diagnose and monitor ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and polyps
  • Diagnose a pelvic infection
  • Look for the causes of pelvic pain
  • Check for signs of cancer
  • Assess fertility issues
  • Confirm IUD positioning

In some instances, a transvaginal ultrasound can be used to gain more detailed information about a pregnancy. They’re also used during fertility treatments to guide your doctor in retrieving eggs for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and similar therapies.

Safe and effective

Like other types of ultrasound exams, transvaginal ultrasounds are very safe, even safe enough to use during pregnancy. That’s because unlike X-rays and CT imaging, ultrasound imaging tests do not use radiation, so there are no radiation-related risks to worry about.

Ultrasound imaging is also completely noninvasive. There are no incisions and no anesthesia to worry about. The wand might cause a little minor discomfort as it’s repositioned, but the exam itself is fairly quick, and many women find they don’t experience any discomfort during the exam.

Afterward, there’s no downtime, and you can go right back to your regular routines. You might have some minor discharge from the lubricating gel used during the exam, but this effect clears up within a day or less.

Advanced imaging for your health and wellness

Transvaginal ultrasound is just one more way Dr. Roberts and his team ensure every patient receives the best and most appropriate care for their needs. To learn more about transvaginal ultrasound, call 936-756-7788 or book an appointment online with the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe in Conroe, Texas, today.