Pelvic Ultrasound Scans
The current Covid-19 pandemic resulted in many hospitals having to put clinics on hold, with scans and other investigations, and routine surgery being delayed for an uncertain amount of time during the first wave. The consequence of this was long waiting lists for many routine investigations such as ultrasound scans. The NHS simply does not have enough staff at present due to sickness and shielding, with many very sick patients demanding treatment first. There is a threat once again with the increase in Covid-19 cases in our area that NHS services may be overwhelmed, and the routine services such as ultrasound scans may once again be limited increasing the waiting times for appointments even further.
This doesn’t make your symptoms any less important, but the hospitals have to put safety first to protect not just patients in the hospitals, but also those at home. By reducing footfall in the hospitals, we can reduce the spread of the virus.
If you are currently experiencing problems, there are alternatives to waiting months for an ultrasound scan on the NHS. Somerset Early Scans offers Gynaecological Ultrasound in addition to pregnancy scans, and currently there is no waiting list. We offer scans in a Covid-safe environment, and you will be scanned by either an experienced Advanced Practitioner Sonographer, Nurse Practitioner or Doctor, who also works in the NHS.
The pelvis is commonly a source of many problems for women, some of which can be detected by a simple pelvic ultrasound scan. This scan is often requested by physicians at the very early stages following symptoms such as pain, irregular or heavy periods, unusual bleeding or to look for a lost coil, and can provide valuable and vital information. Often time is of the essence in many health conditions and seeking early medical advice & services may allow for better outcomes.
Many of our clients choose to book an ultrasound scan with us after having been referred for a pelvic scan in the NHS by their GP; however are unwilling to wait for a hospital scan appointment. Going privately bypasses this, allowing quicker and more convenient appointments and faster results. While hospitals have to see many people for urgent scans within 2 weeks, the criteria for having an urgent scan is strict, and limited to specific symptoms.
We offer flexible and convenient appointments suited around you and your life with clinics running during the day, evening and at weekends at both our sites in Paulton (near Bath) and Bridgwater.
What is the objective of the pelvic ultrasound scan?
The purpose of the pelvic ultrasound scan is to assess the major female pelvic organs:
- Uterus (womb)
- Thickness and condition of the lining of the womb (Endometrium)
- Adnexa (area around the womb)
Possible indications for requesting a pelvic scan include:
- Pain or discomfort
- Abnormal blood tests
- Irregular or erratic vaginal bleeding
- To assess coil (IUCD or IUS) position, for example if you cannot find the strings
- Irregular or erratic periods
- Spotting between periods
- Painful / Heavy Periods
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Delay in conception
- To detect fibroids
- To detect ovarian cysts
- To assess for polycystic ovaries (PCO)
- To assess presence of polyps
- To assess possible cause for painful sexual intercourse
- To assess endometrial thickness
- Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
What does the pelvic scan involve?
Please come with a full bladder as this tilts the womb backwards and acts as a window to help obtain good images. Drink 1-1.5L of fluids at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment. It is best to avoid caffeine as this will make it harder to hold on! Often an internal (transvaginal) scan is needed, and you may opt to go straight for this instead as it does give clearer views. You need an empty bladder for an internal scan. If in doubt, or if you feel uncomfortable having an internal scan, please come with a full bladder and we can discuss it with you when you arrive.
If you opt to have the transabdominal (tummy) scan first, you will be asked to uncover your pelvic area and a small amount of jelly will be placed over your skin. An ultrasound transducer will then be placed on top and moved along your pelvis. This will result in a picture appearing on the ultrasound monitor. This scan may be brief if you are having a transvaginal scan (TVS).
A transvaginal scan is also routine in the majority of cases which may be offered straight away at the start of the appointment instead of the scan over your pelvis as it can usually give better much information about the pelvic organs. We recommend a transvaginal scan rather than a tummy scan if you are through the menopause as the ovaries are smaller and more difficult to see across your tummy.
For an internal scan you will be asked to empty your bladder. You will need to take everything on your bottom half off and a paper sheet will be provided to cover yourself with. An ultrasound probe (which is like a small tampon) will be placed inside your vagina which will be moved around to obtain information. This procedure is usually pain free however occasionally you may experience some discomfort. You will be able to pause or stop this procedure at any time if you feel the need to. Your dignity will be respected at all times.
At the end of the examination a brief explanation of the results will be provided. A written formal ultrasound report of the examination including any measurements will be given, which you can take to your doctor or regular healthcare professional.