Ultrasound as a Diagnostic Tool for Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
- Posted on: Oct 15 2017
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Menstrual periods occur monthly in women of reproductive age, and the characteristics of bleeding may shift from time to time. Gynecologists encourage patients to become familiar with their menstrual cycle. Any alterations to the norm may need to be assessed. Initially, the evaluation may involve a consultation and pelvic examination in the gynecologist’s office. Sometimes, though, further assessment is needed, and a pelvic ultrasound may be scheduled.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding is described as any spotting or bleeding that occurs in between menstruation. Heavier than normal bleeding during the menstrual period is also placed into this category, as is bleeding after sexual intercourse, and bleeding after menopause.
The purpose of initial examination and follow-up imaging is to observe reproductive organs and collect information about their structure. Some of the potential causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding include sexually transmitted infection, pregnancy (possibly ectopic), miscarriage, fibroids, uterine infection, endometrial polyps, and cancer. The data obtained from appropriate imaging and other screenings facilitate the development of a successful treatment protocol. Early diagnosis of any one of the possible causes improves patient outcomes.
Possible imaging processes that may be considered include:
- Pelvic ultrasound, to observe the condition of the bladder, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and uterus.
- Transvaginal ultrasound. This screening, due to its contact with the vaginal canal, obtains images of the endometrium, the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. Transvaginal ultrasound also observes the walls of the uterus and the ovaries.
- Sonohysterography, or uterine ultrasound, may be necessary in certain cases where a more extensive observation of the uterus is warranted. This screening may be performed to look for mass within the uterus, polyps, or to gain more information on the endometrium.
- Pelvic MRI. The images that may be captured with MRI differ from ultrasound in that they may be cross-sectioned and processed as 3-dimensional. When a physician is looking for more evidence related to miscarriage, cancer, or fibroids, pelvic MRI may be an advantageous screening.
The radiology technicians and staff at GO Imaging in Humble and Houston offer friendly service in a comfortable setting. We are happy to answer questions you may have about a patient referral, or about your upcoming screening if you are a patient who will be visiting one of our facilities. Contact us for personal assistance.
Posted in: Ultrasound