Frequently Asked Questions
The discomfort caused by a trans-vaginal ultrasound should be less than a PAP/cervical smear and should subside once the procedure is complete. Trans-vaginal examinations should be avoided on women who have not been sexually active. Women with vaginal atrophy after menopause may feel uncomfortable during a trans-vaginal scan. In order to reduce discomfort, we apply a lubricating gel containing local anesthetic to facilitate the examination. It would be helpful to use hormone estrogen in the form of vaginal tablets or cream for one or two weeks prior to the examination.
The examination usually lasts 5 to 10 minutes. The examination of women with complex gynecological conditions, such as multiple fibroids or extensive endometriosis, usually lasts 5 to 10 minutes longer.
A full bladder is not necessary in trans-vaginal ultrasound. The examination is easier and more comfortable when the bladder is empty. Women who need trans-abdominal ultrasound should try to fill their bladder before the examination.
Vaginal bleeding does not affect the quality of the ultrasound diagnosis and ultrasound can be safely performed in women during their menstrual periods. The same applies to those with irregular vaginal bleeding.
We apply strict infection control policies and we follow detailed procedures for cleaning the transducers and all other equipment. Before and after the examination, the ultrasound transducer is carefully cleansed using antiseptic and sterilizing agents. Gloves and replacement covers are used during the examination for extra protection against infection.
Latex allergy is rare, but can cause severe rash. If you think you are allergic to latex, please let us know so that we do not use latex gloves or probe cover during your examination.
In all cases, you can have your medical results within minutes after the examination and send our report by email to your doctor. We can also provide copies of your results and ultrasound images to you. Video of the scan can be provided to early pregnancy scans.
Ultrasound scan can detect endometriosis and asses its severity. This helps to decide whether a conservative treatment or surgery is the best way to treat the disease. Detection of endometriosis that involves the bowel, bladder and uterus is particularly useful to women who will have a surgery. Information about endometriosis facilitates the planning of an operation and reduces the risk of complications.
Normal fallopian tubes are very thin and usually cannot be seen on ultrasound. Damaged fallopian tubes appear on ultrasound because they are filled with fluid. A HyCoSy/HyFoSy test can diagnose obstructed tubes. This procedure is described in details on our web page in the section of “women with fertility problems”.
Ovarian cancer can be accurately diagnosed on ultrasound. The best and most accurate way to diagnose ovarian cancer is to perform a systematic and detailed examination of the tumour and adjacent structures in the pelvis and abdominal cavity. The advantage of this approach is that it provides information about the nature of the tumour immediately. Usually no other expensive and time-consuming tests are needed.
There is no evidence that the ultrasound is harmful for the pregnancy. It is important, however, to ensure that the energy of the ultrasound is at a low level. The use of pulse Doppler devices to measure blood flow should be avoided in the first weeks of pregnancy because energy production is higher than the ultrasound pulse for normal imaging. Our equipment is fully compliant with international standards for safe use in pregnancy and mechanical energy is constantly monitored during the examination.
A normal intrauterine pregnancy can appear in the ultrasound 3 days after the missed period. In women who become pregnant after a fertility treatment, such as ovarian stimulation, or IVF, pregnancy may appear 17 days after ovulation. There are, however, slight deviations at the time of conception and we advise women who wish to confirm that their pregnancy is in the womb to have a blood b-hCG test first. This is especially important in women with uterine pathology such as fibroids or adenomas, which make pregnancy more difficult. The above applies to women who do not have pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding but also to those who did not have IVF. In case of symptoms or a history of ectopic pregnancies, we advise pregnant women to visit us as soon as possible after a positive pregnancy test.
An ultrasound scan can confirm the heartbeat of your baby 2 weeks after the missed menstrual period or 4 weeks after conception. In women who have conceived through IVF, the pulse may appear 4 weeks after ovulation.
Experienced operators can detect almost all ectopic pregnancies over a few millimetres in size. However ectopic pregnancies tend to develop at a slower rate than intrauterine pregnancies and often take longer to reach the size that can be seen on ultrasound. Most women with positive pregnancy tests, in which the ultrasound cannot recognize a pregnancy, have either a normal pregnancy that is younger than expected, or are already suffering from a miscarriage. A small percentage of these women, however, may have developed an ectopic pregnancy. In this case, a blood test is arranged to measure the level of gestational hormones. According to the results of blood tests we can advise women about the possible outcome of their pregnancy and the need for further monitoring.