Ultrasound of the ureters in most cases is prescribed if the presence of urolithiasis is suspected. Fortunately, this procedure is absolutely painless, passes quickly and without difficulties. In a short time, it is possible to make the correct diagnosis.
Features of the structure of the ureters, the norm of size
This organ has the shape of a thin tube. The ureters are made up of muscle fibers that prevent urine from arbitrarily leaving naturally. They are necessary in order to bind the kidney to the bladder. The total length of the ureter is on average 30 centimeters. Slight variation is allowed, +- 5 centimeters.
In an absolutely healthy person, when examining the ureters, there are small constrictions in diameter in three places:
- near the bladder
- in the area adjacent to the renal pelvis
- middle of the kidneys
According to statistics, it is in these places that stones are most often stuck in urolithiasis. For this reason, these sites are particularly carefully considered.
It is quite difficult to miss the pathological processes of the ureters, because their symptoms are pronounced: there is excruciating pain, especially when trying to empty the bladder.
Who is recommended ultrasound
The main indication for the examination is severe pain in the lower abdomen, which significantly increases with the act of urination. However, pain during emptying of the bladder can signal various pathologies, therefore, to clarify the ailment, each organ of the urinary system is checked separately. Consider several direct indications for ultrasound of the ureters:
- too frequent urge to empty the bladder
- blood clots in the urine
- when urinating, the liquid flows out in meager portions
- severe burning or pain when urinating
- poor urine tests
Ultrasound examination allows you to identify various pathologies of the ureters. There are congenital anomalies, for example, incorrect localization of the ureter. In most cases, such problems do not require treatment. Sometimes the examination reveals a blockage of the ureter – in this case it is rarely possible to do without surgical help.
A standard ultrasound examination is performed through the anterior abdominal wall. In this case, there are no contraindications, except for serious injuries and abrasions of the skin of the studied area.
Also, ultrasound of the ureters can be performed rectally and transvaginally. The attending physician will tell you about the contraindications to them, because they may vary. For example, ultrasound of the ureter transvaginally will not be performed in the presence of inflammatory processes of female organs, but an ovarian cyst will not interfere with the study, etc.
How to prepare properly
For the reliability of the results, you need to prepare carefully for the study. Consider the main rules:
- In order to clearly determine the structure of the ureters, it is necessary to fill the bladder. To do this, you need to drink about a liter of liquid in 40 minutes. It can be not only water, but also, for example, green tea or a decoction of medicinal herbs.
- If this diagnostic procedure is scheduled for the morning, it is not necessary to drink a lot of liquid immediately before the examination, it is enough not to urinate after waking up.
- If an ultrasound examination is prescribed for an elderly person with urinary incontinence, it is not necessary to fill the bladder in advance, the liquid is injected directly through a sterile catheter.
- You need to appear on an empty stomach. Last meal at least 10 hours in advance. In three days, all kinds of harmful products are excluded.
- If you have increased gas formation and flatulence – take activated charcoal, and during meals – preparations containing digestive enzymes, according to the instructions.
How the procedure goes
As mentioned above, ultrasound examination of the ureters can be carried out in various ways:
- Transvaginally – the sensor is inserted into the vagina.
- Rectal examination is carried out through the rectum.
- Through the anterior abdominal wall.
To date, the latter option is most often practiced. The patient comes prepared, lies down on the couch, takes off extra clothes and jewelry. The specialist spreads the gel on the lower part of the abdomen. On average, the manipulation lasts no more than 15 minutes.
During the examination, the doctor may ask to change the position of the body or empty the bladder.
Note the important! Ureters are not always possible to examine with the help of ultrasound. In this case, the patient is sent to another procedure – cytoscopy.
Decoding the results
When examining this organ of the urinary system , the doctor evaluates the following:
- the size of the ureter (mainly its length is taken into account)
- the number of constrictions
- are there extensions present
- how many ureters
- is there a blockage or compression
The results are deciphered by a urologist or nephrologist. An ultrasound diagnostics specialist prints a black-and-white result on paper not only in writing, but also with a specific photo, if there are any pathologies. This is necessary so that the doctor has an idea of the clinical picture of the disease.
Do not despair if, according to the results of the examination, you have violations. To date, any pathology is curable. Unfortunately, in most cases, the ureters do not respond to medical treatment, so you have to resort to surgery. Be attentive to your health and well-being, at the slightest symptoms, immediately consult a doctor.