Ultrasound during periods

Is it safe to have an ultrasound during periods?

Experiencing pelvic pain or irregular bleeding? Ultrasonography might be one of the tests your gynecologist would recommend but is it safe? Let’s find out! 

What is ultrasound? 

An ultrasound test is used to examine the uterus, ovaries, and other pelvic tissues. It is used to treat pelvic discomfort, abnormal bleeding, menstrual disorders, mucosal evaluation, IUCD positioning, fertility, bloating, pelvic masses, and pregnancy-related concerns. Transabdominal and transvaginal (internal) scans may be conducted.

Test Procedure 

Transvaginal ultrasound includes putting a tiny transducer (a little thicker than a tampon) into the vagina to obtain better-detailed pictures since the transducer is closer to the pelvic organs. This enhances diagnostic accuracy.

A transvaginal scan is not always necessary, and it is not a suitable or acceptable technique for all women. Transvaginal scans are usually not conducted on young girls, women who have not been sexually active, or those who refuse the operation.

In case you have any queries/concerns, please have a conversation with your sonographer. A transvaginal scan is optional for all patients – it is up to you to decide whether to proceed or not. 

Effect of Ultrasound on Menstrual Cycle

Doing an ultrasound while menstruating (periods) is generally regarded as safe, with no severe adverse effects peculiar to that time. Ultrasound is a noninvasive imaging technology that employs sound waves to make pictures of the body's interior organs and structures. But there could be two side effects to this test.

1. Discomfort: Depending on the location being checked, the ultrasound process may cause slight discomfort. For example, a transvaginal ultrasound may produce little pain owing to probe insertion. However, the discomfort is unrelated to menstruation.

2. Anxiety issues: Some people may experience worry or tension during any medical treatment, including ultrasounds. This can be addressed by discussing your concerns with the healthcare expert doing the treatment.

What are the Reasons for Ultrasound During Periods? 

There are two reasons for undergoing an ultrasound during periods. 

The first reason is to detect the reason for abnormal bleeding, it is advised to conduct it immediately after the period ends. The uterine lining thins, allowing pathology to be seen more easily. Just before menstruation, the uterine lining is thick and appears extremely bright on ultrasonography. Some causes of irregular bleeding, such as tiny polyps, may go undetected, necessitating a review shortly after the period. 

The second reason for ultrasound could be cases such as discomfort, absence or irregular periods, potential fibroids, infertility, or a suspected pelvic tumor or ovarian cyst, it can be scheduled at any time during the menstrual cycle, even when you are bleeding. If this happens, you do not need to change your appointment unless you are uncomfortable having a vaginal scan at that time.

5 Common Myths About Ultrasound Scanning 

In this section, we’ve tried to debunk 5 common myths about ultrasound scanning. 

1. It can only be done transvaginally

Gynecological ultrasound scans can be transabdominal, transvaginal, or transrectal. Transabdominal scans are used to better define the uterus and ovaries, especially in overweight or obese women.

Transvaginal scans allow more detailed examination of pelvic organs, while transrectal scans are used to see pelvic organs in detail. These methods are suitable for women with narrow vaginal entrances, those who haven't had sexual intercourse, find it uncomfortable, or those who prefer not to.

2. It is one of the standard gynecological tests

Ultrasound scans are not part of a traditional gynecological examination but can be requested if symptoms suggest a disease or suspicion. They can be requested at any time in a woman's life, but have not changed the prognosis of diseases in women without symptoms.

3. It might be injurious to the pelvic organs

The ultrasonic picture is obtained by emitting sound waves rather than radiation. This implies that as many ultrasound scans as needed can be conducted with no harmful impact on the patient.

4. It cannot be done during menstruation cycle

Ultrasound scans can be used to study the function and anatomy of female reproductive system organs, including menstruation. However, visualizing the cavity may be difficult on the first day of menstruation.

For women with persistent bleeding or menopause, it is best to perform the test during bleeding. The best time to study for uterine cavity diseases is after a period, as the endometrium is thin. If a check is needed, it should be done two weeks after the previous period.

5. Ultrasound can’t be performed on virgin women 

For girls or adolescents without a sexual relationship, an abdominal ultrasound scan with a full bladder is considered first. If the image is insufficient for diagnosis, transvaginal or transrectal scans are considered. Transvaginal catheters may be difficult to insert due to preserved hymen.

Transrectal scans are non-painful and produce similar images as transvaginal ultrasounds. If the probe can be inserted without pain, it is also considered. If the girl prefers a non-transvaginal scan, magnetic resonance imaging can be requested.

FAQ Section

Q1. Is it easier to discover problems with an ultrasound during a period?

Ans: Yes, abnormalities such as fibroids or cysts may be more visible during periods owing to increased blood flow to the pelvic organs. 

Q2. Will getting an ultrasound during a period be more painful?

Ans: The intensity of discomfort during an ultrasound is typically unaffected by whether or not you are on your period. However, some women may report increased sensitivity during their periods.

Q3. How does ultrasound impact my menstrual cycle?

Ans: Ultrasound has not been shown to impact the menstrual cycle.

Q4. Are there any hazards to getting an ultrasound during a period? 

Ans: The dangers of getting an ultrasound during your period are minor, and healthcare experts typically consider it safe.

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Final decision: Is it safe to do an ultrasound during periods? 

It is generally accepted that having an ultrasound during menstruation is safe and has no appreciable effect on the imaging results' accuracy. Healthcare professionals are aware of how the menstrual cycle affects the uterus and other organs, and they can consider these changes when interpreting ultrasound pictures.

Although there may be some discomfort or variations in the quality of the images, the advantages of having an ultrasound during menstruation frequently exceed any possible hazards. Ultrasound exams may reveal a lot about a person's health and well-being, so people must heed the advice and guidelines provided by their healthcare professional.

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