Gynecological ultrasound is an imaging test that uses ultrasound waves to generate images. It is one of the most used diagnostic tests in gynecology and it is used to examine and characterize the internal genital organs (uterus with the endometrium and ovaries), as well as to check the development and growth of the fetus. Generally, it is done vaginally since the precision for the detection of pathologies that affect these organs is greater. In patients who have not had sexual intercourse, it can be done abdominally.
The patient is placed on the examination table in the same way as for cervical cytology during a gynecological check-up. A probe, called a transducer, is inserted into the vagina, covered with a condom and gel. The transducer emits mechanical vibrations (ultrasound waves) to the organs, and these reflect the echo that is picked up again by the probe and processed by a computer that translates them into images. Therefore, it is a safe test and lacks radiation. It is for this reason that it is the most used imaging technique in pregnant women to control the development and growth of fetuses.
The bladder needs to be empty in the case of a vaginal ultrasound. Contrarily, if an abdominal ultrasound is performed the bladder needs to be full. In this last case, the bladder acts as a window through which the uterus and the ovaries can be observed.
The ultrasound examination is painless. However, some patients may experience discomfort when performing the study because of the pressure that sometimes must be exerted with the vaginal probe.
The indications are very varied and includes the diagnosis and monitoring of different pathologies, whether benign or malignant, such as:
- Follow-up of uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts
- Pelvic pain
- Diagnosis and monitoring of pregnancy
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding and menstrual abnormalities