Ugh. Full Bladder for Ultrasound

Updated on February 24, 2011
M.K. asks from Glendale, CA
25 answers

Does anyone else just have major trouble doing this?
I have an ultrasound tomorrow, and of course they want me to have a popping full bladder, and drink 40 oz Of water.
Well i just cant do it, last time i drank till it was coming out of my ears, then i go in the room, and she tells me i havent drunk enough! Even though i Am pretty much leaving a trail of wee behind me when i walk. I never seem to be able to drink enough, and frankly it hurts
Any tips?
Anyone else have this trouble?

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So What Happened?

M. G - I didn't know this either until I started having ultrasounds, but rather than use the bladder as a point of reference, they apparently use the full bladder as a magnifying glass, and also the fullness of it pushes the other organs into a better position for viewing.
Ugh, just ugh

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answers from San Francisco on

You need to go to a different practice. A new ultrasound machine does not require a full bladder. Believe me, I am right with you. For my first two babies, I had to have a full bladder ages 11 and 7 but for my youngest 18 months, I didn't.

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answers from Eugene on

I just didn't do it--I always have bad nausea and even if I could drink that much water I would just throw it up--no one has ever said anything...



answers from Las Vegas on

I just had to do it. I used the restroom then started drinking my first 20 oz. Then I drank the last 20 oz in the waiting room. It worked.

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answers from New York on

It is incredibly uncomfortable, but it is necessary for an accurate picture. The only thing that remotely helped me was to schedule the appointment in the morning and then "pace out" my water over 2 or 3 hour period of time with most of it right at the end- literally draining a bottle of water in the waiting room.

Of course, then the tech spends 10 minutes pushing around on your stomach which doesn't help, but you can ask to use the bathroom before looking at the pictures. At my doctor's office, the potty is literally across from the ultrasound room on purpose!



answers from Norfolk on

In two pregnancies, I have never been told I needed a full bladder for an ultrasound. My second pregnancy was twins, so I had *A LOT* of ultrasounds from two different places. I would question how old their equipment is. No reason for you to be in pain from a full bladder.



answers from Dallas on

I'm assuming it's for female issues or internal organ issues and not for a pregnancy ultrasound as the only time I ever had to have a full bladder was when they were checking for fibroids and ovarian problems.
Luckily the radiology office I go to is about 25 minutes away. I drink a small glass of water or apple juice before I leave, use the bathroom and then drink the remaining water on my way there. Yes it is painful if I have to wait however I learned my lesson the first time: I made the mistake of not telling the girls at the front desk that I had a very full bladder and I couldn't wait any longer. I had to use the bathroom and then couldn't stop haha. I had to go back to the waiting room and fill up again UGH will never do that again! So my suggestion is take your time in drinking even if it means you're in the parking lot or the waiting room and make sure you let them know at the front desk that you're ready for the procedure as soon as possible.



answers from Austin on

My tip is not to have any ultrasounds unless there is a clear medical indication, meaning there are signs that something is wrong. I have three children and have only ever had one ultrasound, which was with my first before I knew better. Ultrasounds are very traumatic for the baby. I am also a midwife and don't ever recommend ultrasound unless there is a medical need.




answers from La Crosse on

So...I did exactly as they instructed and "filled up" before my ultrasound. I drank so much water that they said it was TOO MUCH. You think it is rough regularly...try going to the bathroom and "just let a tiny little bit out, then come back in for your ultrasound." Nothing worse than drinking bathtubs full, sitting in the waiting room, undressing, pressing...and being told to empty "just a tiny bit." Miserable...though the tech did tell my husband he shoud be proud... I have the "bladder of a camel," and was probably "great to take to sporting events." :)



answers from New York on

This is my third pregnancy and no one ever told me to come with a full bladder. In fact, twice they stopped the u/s to have me empty my bladder. Strange how different things are from one place to the next.



answers from Philadelphia on

Ugh! I feel for you. Yes I have done it following their guidelines and every time the tech had to let me go a little because my bladder was too full and they felt sorry for me:) The one time my bladder went into a spasm and I couldn't go because it was too full and I needed to be cathorized. That time I was having issues with my bladder and they were doing a test. It was not pregnancy related that time. Sorry no tips but you are not alone.



answers from Chicago on

I know this is recommended, but I never was able to follow the guidelines. I would try my best, but couldn't do it. When I was pregnant with my twins I had an ultrasound for EVERY appointment. Never once did they have a hard time finding anything. They use the bladder as a point of reference, so it's not a big deal if it isn't full.


answers from Minneapolis on

My instructions for my ultrasounds were to drink 2 bottles of water at least an hour in advance. I tried doing it for the first ultrasounds... Couldn't even finish off 1 bottle of water (Water is so gross to me, I can't stand it). For the rest of the ultrasounds I didn't even try. They never said anything to me about needing to have a "full-er" bladder... In fact they made me empty my bladder a couple of times (I had to have a lot of ultrasounds during my pregnancy).

Pregnant women always have a full bladder no matter how much they drink or don't drink... That's why they have to pee every half hour! Lol.



answers from Sacramento on

Yes... I think everyone does...

Try to really drink the full 40 ounces... give yourself some time to get it all down (plus you need it in your bladder not your stomach), and just be prepared for it to hurt. :(



answers from Los Angeles on

I was told to have an empty bladder for my ultrasounds (during pregnancy). Big kudos to you, cause I know I couldn't do it!


answers from Chicago on

I had to do that once. It was 18 long years ago, and I STILL remember how awful it was. It does hurt and I had the same problem -- my bladder wasn't full enough. I have no good advice, I just wanted to tell you you're not alone, but you will get through it.... even though many years later you'll still remember it. Be tough! You can do it!



answers from Redding on

I always hated having to do that. I don't ever seem to be full enough either and they make me drink more. One time, I was in the hospital and sick and they made me drink and then the room was still in use. I was crying. The nurse handed me a little paper cup and said I could go that much.
Was she kidding?
If I started, there would have been no stopping me. I just held on and made it through.

Hang in there! You can do it!
It does really suck though. I agree.

Best wishes.

I think some people are missing that non-pregnancy ultrasounds require a full bladder. It's necessary to check for fibroids and ovarian cysts. I had a cyst the size of a grape fruit and still had to have a full bladder. If your uterus is full of baby, it might not be necessary. I never had to have a full bladder with those.


answers from Cincinnati on

I was never really able to, and the tech said :"Don't worry about it! Just don't have an empty bladder. We need to see it". So I didn't put myself through it anymore.


answers from New York on

I know how you feel. I just had one on Tuesday and I drank 2 full bottles of water 1 hour before my appointment. Thought I was going to explode and she told me that my bladder wasn't full. I was like what are you crazy! LOL! So because this was the first for my pregnany they had to do a trans vaginal because my bladder wasn't full. She let me go to the bathroom so that it was empty to do the trans and as she was doing that she goes "oh look your bladders full". You have got to be kidding me. It's hard for me to drink so much water. I am not a big fan of water. I will drink it but not that much. So when they tell me that I have to drink water I actually dread it cause it's never enough.



answers from Philadelphia on

I was in tears the last time i had a test like that. The nurse said i could go and let a little out. I let a little more than a little, ugh! The test still worked, thank god. I hate having to hold that much. It is so painful and uncomfortable. Hopefully you can get permission to relieve yourself a little.



answers from Spokane on

I always cheated :o) I would eat a few slices of watermelon and have a bottle of water along the way. I've had 3 babies and at least 7 ultrasounds (for various reasons; babies all turned out just fine) and the only time anyone commented on my 'less than bursting full' bladder was my last one - and she was a student tech.



answers from Washington DC on

I can't do it! My DD in MD, I didn't need a full bladder for any US. In KS, with DS just last year, I needed a full bladder for both. Well, I couldn't do it..tried on the first one with just 1/2 of what they said, and still writhing in pain and basically peed on the poor woman tech so she let me go and then did a transvag one. The second one, I knew it wasn't really necessary, so I had 1/2 bottle of water on my way in. I have a weak bladder to begin with...can't hold it to save my life. It shouldn't be a problem if you're not bursting at the seams!.


answers from Nashville on

i never had a have a full bladder for an ultra sound they always tell me go to the bathroom and empty my bladder.



answers from Seattle on

Water makes me throw up... so I drink a lot of coffee or lemonade before and ultrasound. I start about 4 hours ahead of time. Does double duty, since as a diuretic it heads almost straight to the bladder, and pulls extra water along with it.

What I wonder, however, is how large your bladder is? My cousin's bladder is 1/3 the size of most adult bladders, and it doesn't stretch very well (she pees about every 20 minutes, and always has). So she just tells ultrasound techs to let her lay 1/2 upside down if the need her organs moved upwards.

((TMI TRICK: If you can drink yourself to needing to pee so bad so bad before you appt... masturbate a little bit -or a lot, doctor's orders ya know ;). Becoming sexually aroused shuts off the urinary response. Your bladder will be as full, but the nerves that poke the brain saying 'gotta go gotta go gotta go' gets turned on "mute" for 20-30 minutes after you're no longer aroused. Sometimes orgasming make the response come back faster, sometimes slower. So try it out a few times to figure out how your system handles it. Again. Oh darn.))



answers from Pittsburgh on

Just drink a large bottle on the way. Full is full. Forget the oz. requirement. Good luck.



answers from Provo on

When my daughter had an ultrasound for her ovarian cysts she drank a lot of water over about an hour and it still hurt her lots. She was almost crying. I was surprised she was able to do it but the pressure was lessened because she stretched it out over time.

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