Ultrasound is the technology of conducting sound waves through the body tissues. The waves bounce back to the probe that transmits them and then are converted into light to create a visual image.
While many people think of ultrasound as a tool to monitor pregnancy, pelvic ultrasound is very useful for assessing the female reproductive organs to determine the cause of pain, bleeding, bloating, pelvic pressure or loss of periods. It is useful to evaluate masses felt by your provider during a pelvic exam or to screen for cancer of the reproductive organs when there is a family history.
Ultrasound also can help in monitoring medication responses or to determine congenital defects of the pelvic organs. Your provider can make diagnoses by using ultrasound to check structure and other tests to check function of pelvic organs. At Northwest Women’s Healthcare, where your ultrasound is performed by a specially trained nurse practitioner sensitive to your comfort and concerns, you get an interpretation of the findings at the time of the ultrasound study.
Saline Infusion Sonohysterography
Saline infusion sonohysterography is a procedure in which fluid is instilled into the uterine cavity transcervically to provide enhanced endometrial visualization during transvaginal ultrasound examination. The technique improves sonographic detection of endometrial pathology, such as polyps, hyperplasia, cancer, leiomyomas and adhesions. In addition, it can help avoid invasive diagnostic procedures in some patients as well as optimize the preoperative triage process for women who require therapeutic intervention. It is easily and rapidly performed at minimal cost, is well tolerated by patients and is virtually devoid of complications. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in conjunction with the American College of Radiology and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, developed a technology assessment document for saline infusion sonohysterography.
Saline infusion sonohysterography is done in the office by instilling a small amount of sterile normal saline into the uterine cavity and then visualization by the ultrasound. The advantage over traditional transvaginal pelvic ultrasound is that the structural abnormalities of the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) are easier to visualize.
This procedure is best performed early in the menstrual cycle if possible (at the very end of your period or right after you have stopped bleeding). If you are having abnormal bleeding and/or your cycles are not dependable, that will not interfere in proceeding with the test, unless you are having heavy flow of blood.