A pelvic ultrasound is a scan that looks at the organs and structures in your pelvic area. It lets your healthcare provider look at your:
Your provider can also use Doppler ultrasound to look at how blood is flowing in certain pelvic organs.
Ultrasound uses a device called a transducer to send out sound waves that are too high to be heard. The transducer sends the sound waves through your skin and other body tissues to the organs and structures within. The sound waves bounce off the organs like an echo and return to the transducer. The transducer picks up the reflected waves. These are changed into a picture of the organs.
The ultrasound technologist puts a clear gel on your skin and moves the transducer on the gel. The gel lets the technologist move the transducer smoothly over your skin. It also helps conduct the sound waves.
Pelvic ultrasound may be done in 2 ways:
The type of ultrasound procedure you have depends on why you need it. You may need only one type of pelvic ultrasound. Or you may need both to help your healthcare provider make a diagnosis or give you treatment.
You may need a pelvic ultrasound so your healthcare provider can measure or look at your pelvic organs. Your provider may use the ultrasound to look at:
Pelvic ultrasound can give your healthcare provider lots of information about the size, place, and structure of pelvic masses. But ultrasound cannot give a definite diagnosis of cancer or specific disease.
Your provider may use pelvic ultrasound to help:
Your healthcare provider may also use ultrasound to help with other procedures such as endometrial biopsy. Transvaginal ultrasound may be used with a procedure called sonohysterography. For this, your uterus is filled with fluid so that your provider can get a better image.
Your provider may have other reasons to recommend a pelvic ultrasound.
Ultrasound does not use radiation. You usually will not feel any discomfort when the transducer is moved across your skin during a transabdominal ultrasound. You may have a little discomfort when then transvaginal transducer is put into your vagina.
The transvaginal ultrasound transducer is covered in a plastic or latex sheath. This may cause a reaction if you have a latex allergy.
During a transabdominal ultrasound, you may have discomfort from a full bladder or from lying on the exam table.
If you need to have a transabdominal ultrasound right away, your provider may put a thin tube (urinary catheter) into your bladder to fill it.
You may have other risks depending on your health condition. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any concerns you have before the procedure.
Some things can affect your test results. These include:
You may have a pelvic ultrasound done in your healthcare provider’s office. Or you may have it as an outpatient or as part of your stay in a hospital. The scan process may vary depending on your condition and your health care provider's practices.
You do not have to do any special after a pelvic ultrasound. You may go back to your normal diet and activity unless your healthcare provider tells you not to.
Your healthcare provider may give you additional instructions, depending on your situation.
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