Having Uterine Ultrasound (Sonohysterography)

A uterine ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves and a computer to make pictures of the inside of the uterus, the organ where a baby grows during pregnant. It is safe and painless. It does not use radiation.

Getting ready for your procedure

Tell your healthcare provider about your menstrual cycle. If you still have menstrual periods, it is best to have this procedure the week after your period for the best results. And there is less of a chance of infection. Talk with your healthcare provider about any special instructions. You may be given antibiotic medicine before the test. This is to help prevent infection.

On the day of your procedure

The procedure is often done at a healthcare provider’s office. Or it may be done in a clinic or at a hospital. It may be done by a radiologic technician with special training in imaging tests. Or it may be done by a radiologist. A radiologist is a specialist who uses imaging to diagnose and treat disease.

The procedure usually lasts less than 30 minutes. It includes several different tests. You can expect the following:

  • You’ll be asked to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. You’ll then undress from the waist down and lie on your back on an exam table. You’ll bend your knees and place your feet in stirrups at the end of the exam table.

  • Your healthcare provider may first give you a pelvic exam to check for any pain.

  • Next you’ll have a transvaginal ultrasound. For this the provider uses a slim wand called an ultrasound transducer. The provider puts a thin cover and special gel on the transducer. He or she puts the transducer into your vagina.

  • The provider may move the wand around slightly inside your body. This is to get different images of your uterus. You may feel some pressure as the wand is moved around. Images appear on a computer screen.

  • A special type of ultrasound called Doppler may also be done. This ultrasound shows how blood is flowing through the blood vessels in the uterus.

  • After taking the images, the provider removes the transducer.

  • For the ultrasound, the provider will put a speculum into your vagina. The speculum opens (dilates) the vagina. This is the same device used in during a Pap test.

  • He or she puts a thin tube (catheter) into the opening of your uterus (cervix). You may feel some pinching or cramping. The speculum is removed from your vagina.

  • The provider then puts the transducer into your vagina. A sterile liquid (saline solution) is sent through the catheter into the uterus. This may cause some cramping. The liquid helps give more detailed images of the inside of the uterus. Images are sent to the computer screen.

  • A transabdominal ultrasound may also be done at this time. This exam uses a transducer over the belly (abdomen).

  • After all of the images are taken, the provider removes the wand and catheter.

After your procedure

You will likely be able to go home right after your procedure. In most cases, you can return to your normal activities right away. The saline fluid will leak from your vagina over the next few hours. You may need to wear an absorbent pad after the procedure. For a while after the procedure, you may have symptoms like:

  • Cramping

  • A small amount of bleeding (spotting)

Talk with your healthcare provider about taking over-the-counter pain medicine.

Follow-up care

After the exam, a radiologist will look at the images and send a report to your healthcare provider. Your provider will talk with you about the results. He or she may give you a diagnosis, advise treatment, or order more tests. 

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • Severe pain

  • A change in the type or amount of vaginal discharge