Gynaecology ultrasounds may be requested for many reasons, very often for more than one purpose at the same time. Common reasons are to evaluate heavy or painful periods, bleeding between periods or after menopause, delay in getting pregnant, pelvic pain, masses or cysts, risk of cancer, suspicion of different anatomy, or of particular diseases or hormone patterns.
For gynaecological ultrasound, abdominal ultrasound is a good overview, and water in your bladder can help make this clear. In addition, a vaginal ultrasound, where a narrow probe is inserted after bladder emptying, adds useful detail to almost all scans. For most gynaecological ultrasounds we use both approaches, in fact the angles are often complimentary to each other. If you expect you will be having a vaginal ultrasound, two glasses of any liquid is enough to drink, ideally an hour before. You may come without drinking if you have bladder problems. Vaginal ultrasound sounds awkward, but it is typically a far gentler examination than a Pap smear. Once we are familiar with you, we may advise you individually if you do not need to drink at all for further gynaecological ultrasound at this practice.
If vaginal ultrasound would not be appropriate, the bladder filling becomes more important for the views through the abdomen. Children to be scanned, and women who have never had a Pap smear, will need to have a full bladder. Usually 3 large glasses of fluid an hour before the appointment is realistic; also allow time that if the bladder is not full enough we may require you to wait and fill at the time of the ultrasound. This can take a very long time. For this reason young girls and adolescents are not booked late in the day.
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