Barbara L. McFarlin, CNM, RDMS, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Maternal Child Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ultrasound Assessment of the Endometrium for Irregular Vaginal Bleeding
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2010
2006 American College of Nurse Midwives
Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health
Volume 51, Issue 6, pages 440–449, November-December 2006
How to Cite
McFarlin, B. L. (2006), Ultrasound Assessment of the Endometrium for Irregular Vaginal Bleeding. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 51: 440–449. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2006.06.002
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2010
- arteriovenous malformation;
- ectopic pregnancy;
- gynecologic ultrasound;
- irregular vaginal bleeding;
- transvaginal ultrasound
Irregular vaginal bleeding is a common symptom of women seeking gynecologic care. Etiologies of irregular vaginal bleeding can be classified into the following categories: pregnancy related (retained products of conception, threatened or missed abortion, or ectopic pregnancy), hormonal (disorders of ovulation, menopause, or hormonal contraceptive use), structural (polyps, myomas, or arteriovenous malformation), neoplasm (endometrial cancer), and infection (endometritis). After the history and physical examination, the initial evaluation of irregular vaginal bleeding has traditionally involved an endometrial biopsy. Transvaginal ultrasound has revolutionized the evaluation of the gynecologic ultrasound examination by providing a minimally invasive means to determine the etiology for the bleeding. Transvaginal ultrasound assessment of the endometrial cavity allows treatment to be tailored to the specific cause of irregular vaginal bleeding, thus saving women time, money, and exposure to unnecessary interventions. The purpose of this article is to give the clinician critical information regarding the capabilities of ultrasound to evaluate women with irregular vaginal bleeding.