Body Parts Transvaginal

Transvaginal Ultrasound

Learn more about transvaginal ultrasound scans, what they can detect, and why you might need this type of scan.
Written by
Joanne Lewsley

Transvaginal ultrasound scan: What does a transvaginal ultrasound show?

A transvaginal ultrasound scan (TVS), also known as an endovaginal or pelvic ultrasound scan, is a quick and safe internal procedure. It provides important information about your menstrual or reproductive health and can help to identify abnormalities, pelvic pain or problems with fertility. It may sound daunting, but most people find it more comfortable than a smear test. This article explains how a technician or sonographer will carry out your scan, what it can show, and how your doctor will use the results to help diagnose and treat you.  Knowing how it works and what to expect can help you decide if it’s the right scan for you.

What is a transvaginal ultrasound, and how does it work?

A transvaginal ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of your body, specifically within the pelvis area. It does this with a transvaginal ultrasound wand or probe (also known as a transducer) that contains soundwave transmitters and receivers. These soundwaves bounce off tissues and organs inside you and send ‘echoes’ of those bounces back to the receivers to create a moving image, which your technician can see on a monitor during the scan. 

TVS shows a more detailed view of your internal organs than a regular ultrasound scan, allowing the technician to look closely at organs, such as your ovaries or womb, and spot any issues, changes or abnormalities.

Transvaginal means ’through the vagina’, so your technician will insert the wand into your vagina. They will ask you to remove your underwear and lie down on your back or your side for the procedure, and they’ll give you a sheet to cover yourself so you’re more comfortable. They may ask you to raise your knees or let them fall to each side to make insertion easier and more comfortable.

The transvaginal ultrasound probe or wand is slender and small, just a little larger than a tampon. It will be covered with a disposable protective ‘sheath’ a little like a condom (if you’re allergic to latex, let them know), and your technician will also use a lubricating gel to make insertion easier, which may feel cold.

How long does a transvaginal ultrasound take?

The procedure usually takes around 15 to 30 minutes.

What can a transvaginal ultrasound detect?

Your doctor will suggest a TVS if they need to look more closely at organs inside your pelvis, including your:

  • ovaries

  • fallopian tubes

  • uterus (womb)

  • cervix

  • bladder 

  • vagina


The scan can help detect abnormalities or changes in the womb and pelvis and diagnose conditions including:

  • ectopic pregnancy - where a foetus has implanted outside the womb

  • abnormalities in the womb and ovaries, such as cysts, tumours, fibroids or polyps

  • pelvic inflammatory disease - an infection of the womb, fallopian tubes or ovaries

  • miscarriage (pregnancy loss) 

  • polycystic ovary syndrome - a condition that causes irregular periods

  • endometriosis - where tissue grows in the ovaries and fallopian tubes

  • confirming early pregnancy or monitoring during early pregnancy

 Your doctor may also use a TVS to help them plan a surgical procedure. 

How to prepare for a transvaginal ultrasound

Wear something that allows you to feel comfortable and relaxed, so loose-fitting clothing is ideal. You’ll need to remove everything below the waist, including your underwear, so we recommend wearing a separate top and bottoms, rather than a dress or jumpsuit, so that your top half can stay covered.. You don’t need to groom, wax or shave before the scan.

If you’re wondering whether a transvaginal ultrasound requires a full bladder, the answer is usually no, but you’ll receive preparation instructions from your selected scanning centre before your scan. You may actually need an empty bladder, as it helps the scan capture clearer images of your organs. The pressure from the wand may also feel uncomfortable with a full bladder in some cases. 

Bring a trusted friend or family member for support if you're anxious. They can put you at ease during the scan and help you remember answers from the technician if you’re distracted. 

Is a transvaginal ultrasound painful?

While a transvaginal ultrasound may feel a bit uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be painful. You might feel a little pressure as the transducer goes into the vagina, similar to what you feel during a smear test. You can ask to insert the wand yourself if you would find that easier.

You may feel a little discomfort as the wand moves around inside, but again, this shouldn’t be painful. Let the sonographer know if you experience pain or if something doesn't feel right.

You can still have a transvaginal ultrasound if you have not had penetrative sex, if you are transgender, or if you are intersex. The sonographer should reassure you that this is the case and ask for your consent before the procedure. However, it is your right to refuse a transvaginal scan if you would prefer not to have one, and you can ask to stop the procedure at any time. 

Can I have a transvaginal ultrasound while on my period?

Yes, you can have a transvaginal scan if you’re having your period. Just be sure to take your tampon out if you’re wearing one, and bring a fresh tampon or pad with you.

Transvaginal ultrasound results:

After your scan, a radiologist will examine and interpret your images, and write a report of their findings. This report will be sent to you via email and a clinician from will call you to discuss your results and any next steps needed.

Depending on what your scan is looking for, you might get an idea of your results immediately. For example, your sonographer might be able to let you know that they haven’t found anything abnormal or worrying during the scan. But you should not feel alarmed if they do not make any indication - it is best to wait until your clinician contacts you with the results of the completed report.

If you have a normal transvaginal ultrasound result, that means that the sonographer was unable to find any abnormalities during the scan, and your pelvic structure is normal. 

If you have an abnormal transvaginal ultrasound, it could mean that your sonographer found changes or abnormalities during the scan, such as cysts or fibroids, signs of infection, or other problems.

It’s best to talk to your clinician directly about the results of your TVS when they call. They can explain the results, answer any questions, and recommend the next steps in your treatment. 

Transvaginal ultrasound images - what do they look like?

Your womb will appear as a  thick, grey line surrounded by a thinner, brighter endometrial lining. The walls of the womb will be grainy and grey. The ovaries will have an oval or rounded shape. Any abnormalities, like fibroids, polyps, cysts or tumours will show up as bright white patches against the darker grey tissues or as unusual fluid pockets behind organs. 

How can I find a private transvaginal ultrasound near me?

You can book a private ultrasound scan near you today with We can help you fast-track your diagnosis with no GP referrals required and expert clinical consultations within days. Choose from over 150 centres nationwide with flexible appointment times and get fast online results, including a digital imaging report. It’s easier than ever to skip the waiting lists and get your health back on track. 



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Transvaginal ultrasound scan. (2022)

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What Is a Transvaginal Ultrasound? (2017).


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