Gynecologic/Pelvic Ultrasound

What is a gynecologic/pelvic ultrasound?

A pelvic ultrasound is a noninvasive diagnostic exam that produces images that are used to evaluate the organs and structures within the female pelvis, including the uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Why is this test performed?

Pelvic ultrasounds may be used for measurement and evaluation of female pelvic organs. Ultrasound assessment of the pelvic may include the following:
-Size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries
-Thickness, echogenicity, and presence of fluids or masses in the endometrium, myometrium (uterine muscle tissue), fallopian tubes, or in or near the bladder.
-Length and thickness of the cervix
-Changes in bladder shape
-Blood flow through pelvic organs
A pelvic ultrasound may also be used to diagnose and assist in the treatment of the following conditions:
-Abnormalities in the anatomic structure of the uterus, including endometrial conditions
-Fibroid tumors, masses, cysts, and other types of tumors within the pelvis
-Presence and position of an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD)
-Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and other types of inflammation or infection
-Postmenopausal bleeding
-Ectopic pregnancy

How is this test performed?

An ultrasound gel is placed on the transducer and the skin to allow for smooth movement of the transducer over the skin, in order to create the best images.
Transabdominal (through the abdomen)
A transducer is placed on the abdomen using gel to conduct the sound waves from the transducer to produce images.
Transvaginal (through the vagina)
A long, thin transducer, covered with the conducting gel and a plastic sheath, is inserted into the vagina.

How do I prepare for this test?

Pelvic ultrasounds require you to have a full bladder. You should empty your bladder and then drink 24 oz. of water 1 hour and 20 minutes prior to the exam. Finish drinking the water 1 hour prior to the exam. Do not empty your bladder again until the exam is completed.

Are there risks associated with gynecologic/pelvic ultrasound?

There are no risks associate with pelvic ultrasounds. Some people feel slight discomfort or pressure with the insertion of the transducer during the transvaginal ultrasound.