A transvaginal scan is an ultrasound examination used to visualise the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvis in general. It is often done in early pregnancy and requires an empty bladder. The slim ultrasound probe is gently placed in the vagina. It is very well tolerated by patients (who generally find it much easier than a having a smear) and gives more accurate visualisation of the uterus than an ultrasound scan performed through the lower abdomen.
A speculum examination is an examination performed with a metal or plastic instrument that allows the neck of the womb (cervix) to be visualised, therefore every woman who has had a smear performed will have had such an examination. This type of examination is not usually performed on women who have never been sexually active.
In those woman who cannot have a transvaginal scan we can offer the option of a transabdominal scan which will be performed through the lower abdomen. This type of scan is done with a full bladder. If you wish to have a transabdominal scan please mention this to Clare when booking your appointment.
A digital pelvic examination gives quite limited information about a woman’s gynaecological organs but can be very useful for assessing some conditions such as prolapse or acute pain or localised swellings or skin changes. It is not possible to perform this type of examination on women who have not been sexually active (virgin), and if such an examination was required it would be done so under a general anaesthetic in theatre.