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Transvaginal Ultrasound Uses: 5 Things to Remember Before the Test

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 31, 2021

Transvaginal Ultrasound Uses: 5 Things to Remember Before the Test

When we think of ultrasounds, we usually imagine a non-invasive procedure where a black and white image appears on the screen as the doctor brushes a lubricated wand over the abdomen. But, what if an ultrasound is done transvaginally? What are the uses of transvaginal (TVS) ultrasound? Here are 5 things to remember before the procedure.

What to Expect During a Vaginal Exam

TVS is a “personally invasive” imaging test that looks into your reproductive organs

Transvaginal ultrasound is an imaging test. With this procedure, you and your doctor can see your pelvic area, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix.

Secondly, “transvaginal” means “through the vagina.” This makes the test “personally invasive,” as the doctor will insert the ultrasound probe (wand) into the vagina.

Typically, the doctor uses transvaginal ultrasound to check your condition when you experience:

The doctor can also recommend TVS ultrasound during your pregnancy to check for possible miscarriage, monitor your baby’s heartbeat, and assess problems in the placenta.

transvaginal ultrasound uses

You’ll feel slight pressure during the test

So, is TVS ultrasound painful? According to experts, it’s not. You will most likely feel a little discomfort when the doctor inserts the ultrasound probe, but generally, it doesn’t hurt.

For the record, only a small portion of the probe will be inserted. To help ease the pressure or discomfort, the doctor will wrap the wand with a condom and lubricant. You’ll also be asked to take a deep breath and relax to promote comfort.

You may or may not need to have a partially-full bladder for the test

For better visualization, you might need to have a partially-full bladder during your examination.

Try to drink at least 32 ounces or 946 ml of water (or any fluid) within an hour before the procedure; if you can, drink all the fluid within 30 minutes.

There are also instances when the doctor wants you to have an empty bladder. If that’s the case, you’ll simply have to go to the bathroom before the transvaginal UTZ.

The whole procedure only takes about 15 to 30 minutes

When you think about the many transvaginal ultrasound uses, you might feel that the process will take a long time.

But, contrary to popular belief, the test is pretty quick—it will usually be over within 15 to 30 minutes.

Here’s what you can expect during the examination:

  • A sonographer (an expert in ultrasound) will explain the procedure to you. He or she will also be the one to facilitate the test.
  • You’ll lie on the examination table with your legs supported by stirrups – just like when you’re having a pelvic exam or Pap smear.
  • The sonographer will insert the probe into your vagina, and the sound waves it produces are converted into images, which are shown and recorded on the screen.
  • Once the sonographer believes they have enough images, they’ll remove the probe and give you time to clean up and get dressed.
  • Depending on the institution, you may get your results immediately, or you’ll have to wait a couple of days before the sonographer makes their observation and forward it to your doctor.

    What to Expect During Your First Pap Smear

    Transvaginal ultrasound uses no radiation

    Unlike x-ray, transvaginal ultrasound does not rely on radiation. After the procedure, you can go on your day as usual.

    Generally, TVS ultrasound poses no risk, even if you’re pregnant; however, your doctor may not recommend the procedure if:

    • You’re not yet in labor, but your water had already broken (premature rupture of membrane). TVS ultrasound may increase the risk of infection in this instance.
    • You have a low-lying placenta and are experiencing vaginal bleeding; TVS ultrasound may increase bleeding risk.

    Key Takeaways

    A doctor uses transvaginal ultrasound to check your reproductive organs and detect or confirm health conditions. Is TVS ultrasound painful? According to reports, it isn’t; although, you might feel slight pressure or discomfort during the procedure.

    Learn more about Screening Tests for Women here. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 31, 2021

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