When a pelvic examination is traumatic

Pelvic Examination and Ultrasound

Sometimes women and girls coming to Ultrasound Care for a pelvic examination or ultrasound have some anxiety about the procedure. For some, the trauma of a previous experience can heighten the anxiety, bringing back unwanted memories that may have been tucked away and possibly re-activating post-traumatic stress.

At Ultrasound Care, the comfort, health and well-being of our patients is our priority.

As an all-female practice, we know that up to one out of every three women or girls has experienced sexual violence of some sort. We meet women and girls of every age and walk of life, and while you are in our care, we want to minimise any reactivation of trauma while we undertake your examination.

How can we make the examination easier for you?

Firstly, we want to know if you are anxious about the examination. Please talk to our doctors and care team if you know that certain things will make the examination easier and tell us what they are. For example:
  • Being talked through each step (or some women ask for the reverse i.e., being given minimal details)
  • Having the presence of a support companion
  • Breathing exercises
  • Distracting yourself with music or something on your phone
These are all examples of different strategies women and girls have used at Ultrasound Care examinations. In some instances, women take anxiolytics such as diazepam prior to a procedure to help them relax, but please let our care team know prior if you are taking medication for a procedure.

Your privacy is assured

At all Ultrasound Care practices, your privacy is secured in our rooms. Each of our scan rooms have ensuite bathrooms so you can get changed in private. Our team will ensure you remain covered up as much as possible so that you do not feel exposed. You can rest assured that the Ultrasound Care sonographer or doctor conducting your procedure has examined hundreds of women in the past and understands that each woman has different needs.

Other ways we can assist during your procedure

We have found that some women and girls prefer to insert the ultrasound vaginal probe or speculum themselves. Others like to be coached in breathing exercises whilst we gently place the instrument gradually into the vagina. Our care team will talk to you all the time, and if any part of the procedure becomes too overwhelming, we will stop. We respect your feelings and will never go ahead with a procedure without your ongoing consent.

Local anaesthetic gel

Local anaesthetic gel may help if there is pain in the vaginal area, and your sonographer or doctor can infuse it into the vagina at the start of the procedure. We always use anaesthetic gel when we are siting Mirena devices and have found it greatly reduces pain, so many women and teenagers can avoid needing a general anaesthetic.

Ultrasound Care is patient centred

The doctors, sonographers and admin support team at Ultrasound Care understand that your dignity, as well as your mental and physical health are paramount. When you come to any of our clinics, please be assured that you will always be treated with respect and that we will aim to work with you to achieve your health goals with your dignity intact.