Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does it matter if I am having my period?

A: No – unless the period is very heavy it makes no difference to the scan

Q: Will I need to drink lots of water and have a full bladder before my appointment?

A: No – in fact an empty bladder makes any examination easier for us to perform. A full bladder is only necessary if we cannot perform an internal (i.e. vaginal)examination. In these cases we ask you to drink between 1 & 2 litres of water 90 minutes before the examination.

Q: What do you mean by “transvaginal ultrasound”?

A: Ultrasound works by sending out sound waves at a target (in this case your womb) and then analysing the pattern produced by the echoes that bounce back – rather like the use of “sonar” to detect submarines.

You may be familiar with scans carried out in pregnancy; these are performed by passing a probe over the abdomen. These often require the bladder to be very full. In early pregnancy or when scanning for gynaecological problems it is better to place the probe in the vagina, closer to the area of being examined. In this way clearer images can be obtained (and for example in pregnancy, the heartbeat of the embryo can be seen at least a week earlier).

The vaginal probe is about the size of a tampon, and for most women the examination is not uncomfortable. If it is, the examination is stopped. A further advantage for this approach is that the bladder does not need to be full, which should make both waiting and the examination more comfortable.