Preparing for a pelvic ultrasound can be easy for some and difficult for others. Let's find out why it is so.
Pregnant women or people with abdominal problems are generally asked to undergo a pelvic ultrasound exam. The results help to determine any abnormalities in the abdominal and the pelvis area. It is a procedure through which the doctor is able to determine the cause of pain or any other such discomfort caused to the patient in the pelvis area. But what is a pelvic ultrasound? And what are the steps that need to be taken in preparation? These questions will be answered in this HerHaleness article. Read it and know how to prepare for your exam.
What is a Pelvic Ultrasound
As mentioned earlier, an ultrasound is the procedure through which a physician determines the cause of discomfort being caused to the patient. In this procedure, images of the internal organs are created by the emission of sound waves which have a very high frequency. These images are seen on a monitor as the physician rubs a device, called the transducer, which creates the sound waves over the area. There are two basic types: the first one is the transabdominal and the other is the transvaginal. Let us see more about these two types in the section below.
Transabdominal Ultrasound: In this one, the abdominal area of the patient is checked. This is done by rubbing a gel (water-based) to remove air pockets that may form, and then running the transducer around the abdominal area. The images of the internal abdominal organs are seen on a screen that is connected to the transducer.
Tranvaginal Ultrasound: This is usually carried out by a gynecologist on a woman if she is suffering from some pain or any other gynecologic problem. The woman is made to lie on her back and the transducer, covered with a water-based gel, is introduced into the vagina. The image of the uterus and the ovaries of the woman is seen on the screen and the doctor can determine if there is any problem. For pregnant women, the pelvic ultrasound is quite similar to the transabdominal one. Note that in a transvaginal ultrasound, the transducer is a specially designed one, much smaller than a speculum used for a PAP test.
If it is a transvaginal ultrasound, then you do not need to worry too much. Carry on your daily activities as usual. However, most transabdominal ultrasounds require you to have your urinary bladder full in order to facilitate a better exam. The standard amount of water that you need to drink before you go for it is 32 ounces. Given below are some steps to prepare for it.
- Mentally prepare yourself for drinking and holding 32 ounces of water in your body.
- Before the day of the test, make sure you have everything in order: your medical records and any other documentation that you need to carry.
- On the day of the test, call and confirm that your appointment is as per the fixed time. This will give you a heads-up on when you can start drinking the water.
- Once the time is confirmed, get ready beforehand and when you have around more than an hour for the appointment, (including the conveyance time), empty your bladder.
- Then begin drinking the 32 ounces of water. Drink slowly. This will help your retention ability.
- Keep drinking until you finish the water completely.
- Once you’re done, leave for the clinic immediately.
- Arrange this in such a way that when you reach the clinic, you have ten minutes to spare for filling any required paperwork.
- As soon as your paperwork is taken care of, it will be your turn. A standard pelvic ultrasound should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes. After the exam, you are permitted to go and empty your bladder.
- It would be a good idea to carry a book or something else that will distract you from the pressure on your bladder.
- Also, wear loose clothes and carry an extra set of clothes, just in case.
- That was about a transabdominal ultrasound. A transvaginal one does not require a full bladder.
Those were the steps that you can take to ensure that your test goes on smoothly. If you want, you can even begin practicing retaining the water a couple of days prior to the test. It will definitely help you.