Understanding Uterine Ultrasound (Sonohysterography)

Uterine ultrasound (sonohysterography) is a test that uses sound waves and a computer to make pictures of the inside of the uterus. It's safe and fairly painless. It does not use radiation. The uterus is the organ where a baby grows during pregnancy.

Why uterine ultrasound is done

The procedure is used to help diagnose problems with the uterus such as:

  • Growths such as fibroids or polyps

  • Scars

  • An abnormal shape

  • Cancer

You may have this procedure if you have symptoms such as:

  • Heavy periods

  • Bleeding between periods

  • Bleeding in menopause

  • Trouble getting pregnant (infertility)

  • Pregnancy loss or miscarriage

This test may also be done before or after some types of surgery. If you have had other tests, your healthcare provider may use this test to get more information.

How uterine ultrasound is done

You’ll lie on your back on an exam table. You’ll bend your knees and place your feet in stirrups at the end of the exam table. Your healthcare provider may first give you a pelvic exam to check for any pain. Next, you’ll have a transvaginal ultrasound. A slim wand called an ultrasound transducer will be used for your exam. A special type of ultrasound called Doppler may also be done. This ultrasound shows how blood is flowing through the blood vessels in the uterus

For the uterine ultrasound, the provider will put a device (speculum) into your vagina. The speculum opens (dilates) the vagina. They put a thin tube (catheter) into the opening of your uterus (cervix). You may feel some pinching or cramping. The ultrasound transducer is then placed into your vagina. A sterile liquid (saline solution) is sent through the catheter into the uterus. The liquid helps give more detailed images of the inside of the uterus. Images are sent to the computer screen. A transabdominal ultrasound may also be done at this time. This exam uses a transducer over the belly (abdomen).

Risks of uterine ultrasound

Most procedures have some risks. This procedure has few risks. You may feel discomfort during the procedure. There is a very small risk of infection. Your healthcare provider will take steps to help prevent infection.

Some people should not have this test, including those who:

  • Have an infection of the reproductive organs (pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID)

  • Are pregnant

If you think you might be pregnant, tell your healthcare provider. Talk with your provider about which risks apply to you.

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