6 Reasons Your Provider May Want You To Have an Ultrasound

6 Reasons Your Provider May Want You To Have an Ultrasound

You know that women’s health specialists rely on ultrasound testing to confirm pregnancy, estimate gestational age, and monitor fetal development. However, did you know that it’s also the go-to imaging tool for investigating menstrual symptoms, diagnosing common reproductive problems, and aiding certain treatments?  

Our expert team — including Cheri Coyle, MD, FACOG, Katherine Hilsinger, MD, FACOG, Douglas Thom, MD, FACOG, John Fejes MD, FACOG, Mary Lynch-CNM, MS, Christine Dileo, DO, Branden Deyerle, MD, and Kristi Taylor, WHNP-BC — offers comprehensive ultrasound services at The Center for Women’s Health in Newport News, Virginia. 

A short tutorial on ultrasound imaging

Also known as sonography, ultrasound testing involves positioning a hand-held transducer device against the body area that your provider wants to visualize. The transducer emits safe, high-frequency sound waves through your skin and into your body, where they meet internal organs, tissues, fluids, and bones. 

Like echoes, these painless sound waves bounce back to the transducer, which translates them into live visual images in real time on a nearby video screen. A pelvic ultrasound can provide a lot of helpful visual information, including: 

In women’s health care, there are two basic types of pelvic ultrasounds. One or both of the following methods may be used, depending on the imaging needs:     

Transabdominal ultrasound

A transabdominal ultrasound is done by gently holding the transducer device against the skin of your lower abdomen, which is lubricated with conductive gel. 

You may be asked to drink water before the imaging test, as a full bladder can make other internal structures easier to see. Typically used in pregnancy, this type of ultrasound shows all pelvic organs and the spaces between them. 

Transvaginal ultrasound

During a transvaginal ultrasound, a slender, wand-shaped transducer is covered in a latex sheath, lubricated, and inserted into your vagina. An empty bladder is recommended for this test. Done to check the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, transvaginal ultrasounds aren’t typically used during pregnancy.  

Common applications in women’s health

Ultrasound imaging is an indispensable observational and diagnostic tool in women’s health care, providing a reliable, noninvasive way to see internal body structures. Our team uses this tool in a wide range of scenarios, including when we need to:

1. Monitor fetal development

Obstetric ultrasounds allow us to confirm your pregnancy, estimate your baby's gestational age, and assess fetal heart rate, movement, position, and growth in each trimester. We can also check your amniotic fluid levels and look for fetal brain, spinal cord, heart, and other body parts abnormalities.     

2. Investigate concerning symptoms

Ultrasound imaging can help us diagnose the underlying cause of common gynecological concerns, including chronic pelvic pain or pressure, spotting between menstrual periods, heavy, prolonged, or painful periods (menorrhagia), uterine bleeding after menopause, and painful intercourse (dyspareunia).   

3. Perform an infertility evaluation 

Ultrasound imaging is a routine component of female infertility evaluation. If you’re having trouble conceiving, we can use ultrasound to check your uterus, endometrium, ovaries, and fallopian tubes for structural or functional abnormalities; we can also monitor ovarian follicle size with ultrasound. 

4. Confirm the position of an IUD

We use ultrasound imaging to assist with the placement and removal of an intrauterine device (IUD), a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) that’s inserted into your uterus to block sperm from reaching an egg. Made to stay in place and remain effective for years at a time, IUDs require periodic scheduled ultrasound checks to ensure they’re still in the right position.   

5. Evaluate pelvic abnormalities 

We use ultrasound imaging to help diagnose — and often assist in the surgical treatment of — gynecological abnormalities and conditions, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and severe pelvic organ prolapse

 While ultrasound testing can reveal a lot about the size, shape, and location of pelvic masses, further testing is required to determine the nature of any discovered tumors. 

6. Identify breast lumps and cysts

Following an abnormal mammogram, ultrasound imaging helps us take a closer look at suspicious breast lumps or cysts.  

Women’s health and ultrasound experts

Are you wondering what to expect at your upcoming ultrasound? We can help. To learn more or schedule an appointment at The Center for Women’s Health in Newport News, Virginia, give us a call at 757-874-2229 today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

 4 Telltale Symptoms of Menorrhagia

 4 Telltale Symptoms of Menorrhagia

Heavy bleeding during your period — officially known as menorrhagia — can take a toll on your quality of life. But how do you know if your bleeding is considered heavy? Here are four telltale symptoms of menorrhagia.
Choosing the Best Type of Birth Control for You

Choosing the Best Type of Birth Control for You

Not ready to begin your family yet? There are birth control options that suit every need and lifestyle if having a child isn’t part of your plans right now. Here are some tips for choosing the best type of birth control for you.
3 Women's Health Concerns After Menopause

3 Women's Health Concerns After Menopause

No two women experience menopause in the same way, but there are some general health concerns that we want to watch out for as it passes. Here, we discuss three of these potential threats and how we can address them.

Understanding the Different Types of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is common, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Your risk of developing urinary incontinence increases with age, but it’s not inevitable. Learn about the different types of urinary incontinence and treatments.