The female body is a unique creation that undergoes many transformations throughout life. Any, even insignificant, violation of its activity can lead to irreversible consequences, such as, for example, infertility, depriving of the incomparable joy of motherhood.
To avoid such a sad turn of events, it is recommended to undergo a prophylactic examination, which includes mandatory ultrasound of the female organs of the reproductive and urinary system. This will allow in the early stages to recognize many pathologies and take appropriate measures.
When does a woman need to undergo a pelvic ultrasound?
Ultrasound examination is one of the most simple and informative diagnostics, and it is also absolutely painless and harmless; therefore, it is prescribed primarily when many pathological manifestations occur.
Thus, the doctor prescribes an ultrasound of the internal female organs in the presence of:
- pain in the groin area of pulling, aching nature
- false urge to urinate, accompanied by discomfort
- pain when emptying the bladder and burning in the urethra (urethra)
- bleeding from genitalia other than normal menarche
- irregular menstrual cycle with abundant or scanty monthly
- hematuria (blood impurities in the urine) and other signs of pelvic disease.
In addition to the pathological signs, ultrasound of the internal female organs is done during planned preparation for pregnancy, establishment or removal of the IUD (intrauterine device), and postoperative control during the rehabilitation period. To obtain the most extensive picture of the organs, it is of great importance on which day of the menstrual cycle a woman will be examined.
The procedure will be as informative as possible on the 7–10 day of the cycle, since this is the most suitable time to study the uterus and ovaries for the presence of pathologies such as erosion, polycystic and others.
The indications, contraindications and age characteristics of females depend on the way in which the study will be conducted. The main types of urinary tract ultrasound that are used for women are transabdominal, transvaginal and transrectal.
Despite the common points, these techniques have some differences that patients should take into account when preparing for the procedure.
The simplest method used in most cases. Its essence lies in the study of the urogenital system in women with the usual movement of an ultrasonic transducer in the lower abdomen.
To improve skin contact and minimize friction, the diagnostician applies a special gel to the radiator and then examines the projections of the internal organs of the small pelvis.
To make the results as accurate as possible, all the above methods require special training, consisting of food restrictions and proper filling of the bladder before the procedure. Nutritional restrictions look like an exception to the diet of products that increase gas formation in the intestine, as gas bubbles can be mistaken for cysts or tumors.
Forbidden foods include fatty cheeses, meats, fish and broths from them, raw fruits and vegetables, spicy, salty, fried foods, smoked meats, spices, dairy and bakery products, sweets.
Alcohol, carbonated drinks and water should be excluded, and you should not smoke, chew gum and suck up candy a few hours before the procedure. Your menu for 3-4 days before the study should be made up of low-fat types of meat, poultry, fish and first courses based on them, boiled vegetables, buckwheat, rice, oatmeal.
You can also eat 1 boiled egg per day and drink 1 cup of kefir or milk.
Allowed to drink during the preparation for the ultrasound weak tea or coffee. For transabdominal ultrasound, care must be taken to ensure that the bladder is full – thanks to this, intestinal loops will be lifted and the internal organs will be accessible for examination.
For sufficient filling of the bladder, you can simply refrain from urination for at least 3 hours, or 1–1.5 hours before ultrasound, drink at least 1 liter of non-carbonated water.
Or, as it is sometimes called intravaginal ultrasound, despite a little more difficult access, it is also used quite often, like the previous technique. When it is performed, a special gynecological sensor is used, having a diameter of about 3 cm, which does not bring any pain when viewed.
Vaginal examination, as well as the other two procedures, lasts no more than 10–20, and only in controversial cases it can take a little time. Preparation for gynecological ultrasound through the vagina is simpler than with the previous one – it is necessary to urinate before the examination so that the full bladder does not interfere with the movement of the transducer (sensor).
The doctor puts a condom on him for hygienic purposes, the patient keeps her back on the couch, spreads her knees on the principle of position on a gynecological chair. Intravaginal ultrasound resembles obstetric examination remotely.
Gynecology also uses the transrectal technique, but much less often – mainly for virgins or for some specific indications. To prepare for ultrasound in this way, it is imperative that the rectum be cleaned of fecal matter, since the procedure is done by inserting a special sensor into it.
The rectal ultrasound transducer is even smaller in diameter than the vaginal one, so there is no pain or discomfort. When conducting a gynecological diagnosis with this technique, a condom is also used, and its lubrication allows the doctor to enter the anus easily and painlessly.
The bladder does not need to be filled.
Features of the pregnancy
Now, no pregnancy passes without ultrasound diagnostics of the reproductive organs of the mother and fetal development. Thus, in addition to determining the presence of conception, an ultrasound scan is scheduled according to the schedule at least three times during the gestation period – at 11–13 weeks, 22–23 and 31–32.
This allows you to keep under control intrauterine development and growth of the embryo, as well as the possible formation of pathologies in the mother’s body.
- At weeks 11–13, gross developmental disorders of the fetus are determined, the thickness of the neck area is an important indicator of the presence or absence of Down syndrome, and anatomical features are assessed.
- At 22–23 weeks, it becomes possible to study the structure of the main organs and systems of the fetus – the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive tract and urinary tract. At this time, you can determine the sex of the future baby.
- At week 31–32, an ultrasound scan shows late abnormal development of the heart, gastrointestinal tract, urinary and respiratory systems, as well as other important organs. In addition, the growth rate and its compliance with normal indicators are studied.
Interpretation of research materials
After the procedure, the diagnostician interprets the data. The study protocol indicates the rate and, if available, deviations from it. Ideally, such an opinion should be made by an obstetrician-gynecologist or a urologist, that is, a doctor specializing in diseases of the female pelvic organs.
During the decoding, the position, size and structure of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder are evaluated.
Indicates the presence or absence in the bladder and kidney calculi, and formations in the large intestine. The presence of follicles in the ovaries and pathological formations in them is established. Various deviations from normal indicators indicate the development of diseases.
For example, thickening of the walls of the uterus or fallopian tubes may be the development of cancer processes. Diagnosed on ultrasound of a rounded shape, the formation can be cysts or fibromas.
If there is a simultaneous decrease in the uterus and an increase in the size of the ovary, it is most likely a polycystic disease. A myoma (benign tumor of the uterus) or endometriosis is indicated by a change in echogenicity. But the correct diagnosis can be set only by an experienced specialist, able to take into account all the subtleties in the pictures or records.
As a result, the decoding of research materials contains the smallest details for each organ, on the basis of which the conclusion is formed, which is issued to the patient. After that, she can go to her doctor for further recommendations.