Transvaginal ultrasound is a test used to look at a woman's reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, and cervix.
Transvaginal means across or through the vagina.
Endovaginal ultrasound; Ultrasound - transvaginal
How the test is performed
You will lie down on a table with your knees bent. Your feet may be held in stirrups.
You will be given a probe, called a transducer, to place into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel.
- The probe sends out sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives these waves and uses them to create a picture.
- The ultrasound technician or doctor can see the picture on a TV monitor.
- The health care provider will move the probe around the area to see the pelvic organs.
In some cases, a special transvaginal ultrasound method called saline infusion sonography (SIS) may be needed to more clearly view the uterus.
How to prepare for the test
You will be asked to undress, usually from the waist down. A transvaginal ultrasound is done with your bladder empty or partly filled.
How the test will feel
The test is usually painless, although some women may have mild discomfort from the pressure of the probe. Only a small part of the probe is placed into the vagina.
Why the test is performed
Transvaginal ultrasound may be done for the following problems:
- Abnormal findings on a physical exam, such as cysts, fibroid tumors, or other growths
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding and menstrual problems
- Certain types of infertility
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic pain
The pelvic structures or fetus is normal.
What abnormal results mean
An abnormal result may be due to many conditions. Some problems that may be seen include:
- Birth defects
- Cancers of the uterus, ovaries, vagina, and other pelvic structures
- Infection, including pelvic inflammatory disease
- Growths in or around the uterus and ovaries (such as cysts or fibroids)
- Twisting of the ovaries
What the risks are
There are no known harmful effects of transvaginal ultrasound on humans.
Unlike traditional x-rays, there is no radiation exposure with this test.
Katz VL. Benign gynecologic lesions: vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, oviduct, ovary, ultrasound imaging of pelvic structures. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa : Mosby Elsevier; 2012: chap 18.
Coleman RL, Ramirez PT, Gershenson DM. Neoplastic diseases of the ovary: Screening, benign and malignant epithelial and germ cell neoplasms, sex-cord stromal tumors. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa : Mosby Elsevier; 2012: chap 33.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. ©1997-2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
6 Ways to Get Addicted to Exercise
5 Things You Can Do to Perk Up Sagging Skin
5 Ways to Practice Common-Cold Etiquette
Beauty Care Products: What Do the Buzzwords Mean?
6 Rules for Reversing a Bad Impression
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.