What is Pelvic Ultrasound?
A pelvic ultrasound is a diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to create images of structures and organs in the pelvic region. The organs that the pelvic ultrasound examines include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix in women, the seminal vesicles and prostate gland in men, and the bladder in both men and women.
Types of Pelvic Ultrasound Techniques
There are three types of pelvic ultrasound techniques.
- Transvaginal ultrasound scan: You are encouraged to void before the procedure. During the procedure, a small probe is placed into the vagina to examine the health of your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. Your doctor uses the results to evaluate the thickness of the uterine lining, presence of cysts, tumors and other abnormal growths.
- Transabdominal ultrasound scan: You are encouraged to drink plenty of water before the procedure. During the examination, a conducting gel is applied over your skin and a transducer (a small handheld device) is moved over the lower belly. A transabdominal ultrasound examination is commonly performed to examine the health of your fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus, follicle development, and to detect uterine fibroids, fallopian tube blockage, and ovarian cysts.
- Transrectal ultrasound: You are encouraged to clear your bowels with an enema before the procedure. This approach is commonly used in men to assess their pelvic organs including the prostate and seminal vesicles.
A pelvic ultrasound may be indicated for blood in the urine (hematuria), bladder problems, growths in the pelvis, colorectal and prostate cancer, infertility, vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is also used to guide other procedures such as biopsy, removal of the ovarian follicles during IVF or draining a cyst or abscess.