You might have heard about the procedure called Culdocentesis, but it is possible that you don’t really know what it refers to. It is known to be a clinical procedure that is meant to find the abnormalities of the female pelvis.
During this procedure, a plunger syringe is used to collect samples from the recto-uterine pouch which is located right behind the uterus. There are numerous things to be found based on the quantity and quality of the sample.
As an example the doctor could see if there is a pelvic inflammatory disease, an ectopic pregnancy, an ovarian cyst and many other kinds of complications.
This is an outpatient procedure that could be performed in a couple of minutes by a gynecologist, emergency medical doctor or an obstetrician.
The recto-uterine pouch that helps to perform culdocentesis is also known as the pouch of Douglas or cul-de-sac and is located right behind the vagina and above the rectum.
This area is the lowest point of a woman’s empty abdominal cavity which makes the syringe sampling very easy.
The procedure can be relevant in looking for uterine issues, because in case there is a cyst, bacterial lesion or any other kind of abnormality in the pelvis, the fluid will pool up in the pouch.
In case of the ectopic pregnancy there will be amniotic fluid buildup that can be observed through this procedure. This is one of the most efficient tests to see whether there are or not problems of this kind.
Before actually performing culdocentesis, the patients receive sedatives so that they will feel more comfortable. In order to decrease the pain, localized anesthetic is also injected into the vagina.
At the beginning of the procedure the doctor uses a speculum in order to separate the walls of the vagina to gain easier access. With the help of the syringe, the doctor punctures the back of the vagina. He or she is very careful when performing the procedure, not to damage the small intestine, kidneys or rectum.
In case there is some fluid, the plunger syringe is used to retrieve it. The dry sample usually means that there are no major problems, but the doctor may want to repeat the process to make sure that he or she did not miss the fluid pool the first time. Then the collected fluid is analyzed.
In case there is a large amount of clear fluid, there could be an ovarian cyst. On the other hand in case the sample is thick and yellow, there might be a bacterial infection. If the fluid is dark and there is also some blood, it could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy.
In the modern clinics and hospitals the procedure isn’t performed often due to imaging technology. The ultrasound machines can also detect the buildup of fluids, and so the process becomes quite unnecessary. Also in this case the accuracy is higher.
Another advantage of the ultrasound against culdocentesis is that they aren’t invasive at all (there is no need for surgery) and there are almost no risks to the health of the patients.