Pelvic Ultrasound

A pelvic ultrasound, or sonogram, is an maging procedure used to diagnose and observe disorders in females and males alike. This procedure is also used to assess the health and growth of an embryo or fetus in pregnant women.

Reasons for a Pelvic Ultrasound

Many pelvic disorders can be detected by using ultrasound as a diagnostic test. These include the following:

  • Cancer
  • Fibroids
  • Uterine anomalies
  • Endometrial polyps
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Kidney stones
  • Urinary tract infections

Additionally, a Doppler ultrasound technique may be utilized to observe the blood flow of the region explicitly. This may help determine the existence of tumor angiogenesis or plaque formation on vessels near the organs of the area. In women, a pelvic ultrasound may be used to evaluate the following:

  • Uterus
  • Cervix
  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Bladder

The Pelvic Ultrasound Procedure

The patient should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and may be asked to change into a gown before the procedure. The test usually takes about 30 minutes to complete. An ultrasound is generally painless, but the procedure may be slightly uncomfortable, depending on the type being performed.


A transabdominal ultrasound is the most common type of pelvic ultrasound. Usually the patient will lie face-up on the examining table. A soft gel is spread across the area to be observed to help sound waves travel between the machine and the body. The actual imaging itself is completely painless, but if the area to be imaged was tender beforehand, some discomfort may occur.


A transvaginal ultrasound is similar to a gynecological exam for women. The transducer is lubricated with a small amount of gel and then placed inside the vagina.


During a transrectal ultrasound, the patient usually will lie on their side facing away from the examiner. The transducer is lubricated with a small amount of gel and placed into the rectum.

The images will be analyzed, and the physician will later discuss the results with the patient.

Additional Resources

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