Adolescent Ultrasound

Why would young women need a pelvic scan?

Ultrasound can be a valuable tool in assessing the pelvis of young women. Ultrasound is better at seeing the vagina, uterus and ovaries than X-ray, and it uses sound waves so there is no radiation exposure.

Common reasons for a pelvic ultrasound are pain, a pelvic mass, unexpected bleeding, the lack of periods and questions about the presence  of the uterus and ovaries.

Another reason we are asked to assess the pelvis in young women is to assess the shape and structure of the uterus and vagina. The uterus initially forms as two separate halves which fuse in the middle by twelve weeks after conception, so women can be born with an unusual uterine shape and not know. Sometimes, there are blockages which over time build up and the pressure can cause pain. Ultrasound can help identify these different shapes and what may be causing the pain

The Ultrasound Care team of doctors and sonographers are experts in ultrasound. They have vast experience dealing with young women and ensure they feel comfortable and that their privacy is maintained while their scan is being conducted.

How do we do the scan?

In young women the vagina, uterus and ovaries are imaged with the transducer on the abdomen. It is important to have a full bladder when you have your scan as it helps the ultrasound waves reach these structures and allows better images. An overfull bladder can be uncomfortable, so please let us know if you think your bladder is too full and you may need to let some urine out.

In some cases, and with the permission of the patient, the probe can be placed on the skin of the labia (transperineal), which may give our sonographers more information. This is particularly helpful when additional information is needed about the vagina. A transvaginal scan is only used when young women are sexually active. When you come for your appointment, your Ultrasound Care doctor or sonographer will explain everything we do and answer all your questions as we do the scan.

It is important to us that you feel comfortable, and please be assured that you are in complete control over how much, or how little we do during your scan.

Why is a scan different for adolescents compared to older women?

The shape and size of the uterus and ovaries change with age and the influence of hormones, and it is important that this information is taken into account. The Ultrasound Care team are highly trained and will gather all the information that is important in helping come to a diagnosis for your particular case.

Gathering all the necessary images and information can take some time, and we may need to ask you to fill or empty your bladder during your scan. Because of this, your appointment may take longer than you expect so try to leave plenty of time when you come for your visit.

How do I arrange for an ultrasound?

Your family doctor or your gynaecologist will give you a referral to Ultrasound Care. Please find which of our locations is most convenient for you and call our team and schedule a scan for a time that is suitable to you.

Some younger women feel more comfortable attending their scan with a support person, so you might want to consider this and check their availability before making your appointment.