“It’s important to have a look around – before there are symptoms – to detect very early ovarian and endometrial cancers. A Transvaginal Ultrasound involves no radiation, it is painless, it is inexpensive, and it is very helpful – especially when a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or bio-identical hormones (BHRT).” ~ Studio Team
What is a Transvaginal Ultrasound (TVUS)?
A transvaginal, or endovaginal, ultrasound, is a kind of pelvic ultrasound (a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your internal pelvic organs). It offers a fast, convenient & inexpensive means of screening for, and detecting, cancer, and other diseases & abnormalities at a very early stage maximizing patient outcomes and minimizing the need for more aggressive treatments at a later stage if abnormalities are detected. ‘Transvaginal’ simply means through the vagina (the TVUS is an internal exam).
A doctor or clinician uses the test as a diagnostic tool for conditions, dysfunction, or disease involving the female reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes & vagina), for which the test has proved extremely effective. While we recommend TVUS as an annual, preventative screen for all women, we feel that it offers particularly powerful preventative benefits for women over 50 who are using HRT or Bio-HRT, particularly if the use of HRT is longer-term.
How Does the TVUS Work?
You may have undergone an ultrasound before (perhaps a regular abdominal ultrasound when you were pregnant, or a musculoskeletal scan to investigate inflammation or injury in a joint or muscle). If so, you will already be familiar with the use of a transducer (a handheld wand-like instrument) that is moved slowly across the area of the body being scanned (in a 12-week pregnancy scan, for example, the transducer would be moved over the surface of your abdomen to allow an ultrasound of the womb to be performed). The TVUS uses the same foundational technology as a 12-week scan or a musculoskeletal scan, with the process differing in the fact that the TVUS is not used externally, but internally, with the transducer gently inserted inside the vaginal canal using a small probe (around 2-3 inches).
TVUS can be used for a wide range of screening & diagnostic purposes; for example, often, a transvaginal ultrasound is advised after an abnormal pelvic or abdominal exam, where there is unexplained pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding, in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, if you are experiencing unexplained infertility, to ensure that an IUD has been fitted correctly, or as a means of checking for uterine fibroids. It also offers an excellent general preventative tool, as previously mentioned, for uterine and ovarian cancer. Early detection for ovarian cancer is so important; while the 1-year survival rate is around 72%, the 5-year prognosis is much lower – almost 36%. The earlier ovarian cancer is caught, the better the prognosis for the patient. While the survival rate of endometrial cancer is relatively high, the danger is that metastasis can occur (spreading of cancer to other organs) is a very real threat – at which point, the survival rate drops significantly.
Preventing Cancer with a Transvaginal Ultrasound
Around 21, 000 women in the US are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, with around 14, 000 of those sadly dying from the disease. As women, our risk of ovarian cancer rests at around 1 in 78, with the risk of dying around 1 in 108. Over 66, 000 women will be diagnosed every year with uterine cancer, the fourth most common cancer in the US for women. Risks of uterine cancer increase after the age of 50. More than 90% occur in the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus).
Using the transvaginal ultrasound at the Doctors Studio, we have diagnosed several patients with ovarian cancer and catching cancer at a very early stage, vastly improving prognoses for those patients as a result. These experiences have cemented the validity & utility of the test as part of our essential medical suite of tests, treatments, & therapies.
As is the case with all cancers, early diagnosis remains by far the most possible clinical weapon in the fight against this deadly disease. Given the sophisticated capacity of the Transvaginal Ultrasound to provide a detailed image of the vaginal area, it has proven particularly beneficial in detecting ovarian cancer, which is considered a very difficult cancer to detect early. This is partly because ovarian cancer symptoms are considered quite vague, generic, and far too easily attributable to other conditions &/or dysfunctions to signal ovarian cancer to the extent that an individual is unlikely to pursue a cancer-specific test (e.g., ubiquitous symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, constipation). It is also because there is no official screening tool for ovarian cancer – underscoring the absolute value of TVUC. Further, while ovarian cancer can increase levels of CA 125 protein in the blood, so can many other conditions, and ovarian cancer typically sees a high recurrence rate. TVUC allows us to screen for cancer early, potentially with life-altering outcomes.
We also know that the use of HRT and Bio-HRT both can increase the risk of cancer (particularly dependent on how long they are used as treatments) which is why we particularly recommend this screening tool alongside the use of either treatment.
HRT & Preventative Cancer Screening
Why do women use HRT? Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is used widely as an intervention to lower the often-debilitating side effects caused by perimenopause and menopause. During menopause, our bodies start to produce less estrogen, leading to ubiquitous mood swings, night sweats, hot flushes, weight gain, thinning hair, loss of libido, and other unpleasant symptoms that can ruin our day (or night!).
HRT can be taken as estrogen-only or as a combination of estrogen plus progestin (otherwise known as combined HRT, also the most commonly prescribed kind of HRT). Estrogen-only HRT can increase the risk of uterine cancer (cancer of the uterus), so it is usually only recommended for women who have already had a hysterectomy (where the uterus is removed). Estrogen-only HRT also increases the risk of breast cancer too, but only after the patient has engaged with HRT for 10 years or more.
Research also shows that the long-term use of combined HRT (for 5 or more years) can increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, alongside a heightened risk of heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs) – although these risks tend to mostly disappear when HRT is stopped. This underscores the importance of both engaging regularly with your medical practitioner whilst using HRT or Bio-HRT and engaging with regular diagnostic screening & testing with technology such as the TVUS while you do continue with treatment.
At the Doctors Studio, we can also offer thermography (thermal imaging) alongside other adjunct screening tools as an extremely effective tool for the diagnosis of breast cancers & other carcinogenic growths, non-cancerous tumors & other anomalous inflammatory &/or dysfunctional physiologic activity. For us, early detection is critical, so we subsequently invest a lot of time & resources into not only optimizing your health but in protecting it, too. TVUC constitutes one valued part of that strategy.
Benefits of a Transvaginal Ultrasound
The benefits of transvaginal ultrasound lie most powerfully in its’ use as a preventative tool that helps us make early diagnoses in cases of uterine & ovarian cancer. Other general benefits include:
Evaluation of the endometrial lining thickness to identify any suspicious tissue or growths
- To identify, assess & monitor the presence of fibroid tumors
- To visualize the pelvic bowl and the presence of any signs of cancerous growth
- Assessment of the health of the uterus (womb), the cervix (the neck of the womb), the endometrium (lining of the womb), the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the bladder & the pelvic cavity
- Provision of detailed pictures of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries
- Determination of the thickness of the endometrial lining
- Visualization and evaluation of the overall health of the ovaries
What Can I Expect from a Transvaginal Ultrasound?
When you arrive at the radiology center, you may be asked to go to the bathroom to empty your bladder before the test begins.
During the test, a transducer is gently inserted into the vagina to perform the transvaginal ultrasound. During the ultrasound, sound waves bounce against your internal organs, creating images of the inside of your pelvis and pelvic organs. It offers an excellent and detailed means of investigating whether there is anything present in the pelvic region that should not be there.
The TVUS transducer is only a little larger than a tampon and designed specifically to fit as comfortably as possible into the vagina. A protective cover is placed over the transducer, with warm lubricant gel used to make the insertion as easy and smooth as possible. The transducer is then moved gently to enable the sonographer to capture multiple ultrasound images of your pelvic organs. The whole procedure, always performed by a qualified sonographer, only takes around 15-30 minutes – so you could even fit it into a lunch break!
You should feel no pain or suffer any side effects whatsoever & you can return to your normal activities immediately after the test has been concluded. The procedure is designed to be painless, risk-free, & convenient; further, the use of ultrasound technology means that no radiation whatsoever is involved. You might notice a little increase in discharge in the 24 hours after the procedure, but this should not last very long and is nothing to be concerned about. Then, in 48 hours or less, you can expect your results! At this stage, we can talk you through your results, offering you vital peace of mind that everything is okay – or advising you on the next constructive steps that we can take if we do find any evidence of dysfunction or inflammation.
Let the Doctors Studio Help You
We offer a comprehensive suite of progressive, medically developed, scientifically proven, progressive, next-gen treatments & therapies designed to optimize YOUR wellness, so whatever your results, we are here to support you. Whether it is further tests, hormonal treatments, dietary recommendations, toxicity or pathogen screening, or anything else that you might need, we are excited to take that next step in your health & wellness optimization journey with you.
Ultimately, Transvaginal Ultrasounds (TVUS) offer us an excellent and valuable means of conveniently engaging in early-detection screening for ovarian and endometrial cancers, alongside a range of other potential dysfunctions & conditions. It involves no radiation, it is inexpensive, painless, and especially valuable to women over 50 undertaking HRT therapy, so we could not recommend it more strongly!
When we detect cancer early, it gives the patient an incredible chance of survival and reduces their need for aggressive, invasive treatments. TVUS represents an excellent investment in your health, so if you feel that you would like to find out more, we are waiting to take your call.
If you feel that you or someone that you love might benefit, please contact the Doctors Studio today!
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