Ultrasound imaging or sonography is the process wherein inner parts of the body can accurately and vividly be studied and reviewed to look for possible diseases, underlying conditions and other abnormalities. Pelvic ultrasound is one of the various types wherein images of the existing structures and organs in the pelvis and lower abdomen are taken for diagnostic purposes. Ultrasound machines are generally safe and painless.
About Pelvic Ultrasound
Pelvic ultrasound will provide pictures of the organs and structures located in the pelvis and lower abdomen. There are 3 kinds of pelvic ultrasound namely vaginal or transvaginal and endovaginal for women, abdominal or transabdominal and rectal or transrectal for men. Doppler ultrasound examination may also be included during a pelvic ultrasound exam. The Doppler ultrasound will come in useful as it assesses blood flowing through arteries and veins in the abdomen, legs, neck and arms.
The procedure is also recommended by doctors if they want to evaluate parts like the cervix, uterus, bladder, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Pelvic ultrasound may also be used to check the health, growth and development of a fetus or embryo in pregnant women. Some of the common symptoms and problems experienced by female patients can be diagnosed more using the procedure. Examples of symptoms to watch out for are menstrual problems, pelvic pain and abnormal bleeding. Palpable masses like uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts, plus uterine cancer and ovarian cancer can also be checked thoroughly.
About the Types
Transvaginal ultrasound is done to study the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium and other features like the thickness. The ovaries are also checked. Transvaginal ultrasound can also check the muscular walls in the uterus, called the myometrium. Sonohysterography is the process used to detect other features and abnormalities in the uterine cavity. Some of the conditions that might be discovered include scars, fibroids, uterine anomalies, endometrial polyps and cancer.
For male patients, pelvic ultrasound machines are used to evaluate body organs like the seminal vesicles, prostate and bladder. Transrectal ultrasound allows physicians to view the prostate gland. The process involves the insertion of a special transducer into a probe then inserting it right into the patient’s rectum. In both men and women, the pelvic ultrasound can look for disorders in the urinary bladder, tumors and kidney stones. Needle biopsies may also be assisted by pelvic ultrasound.
Doppler ultrasound pictures can help doctors see and assess narrowing of blood vessels that are usually caused by plaque, congenital malformation and blockage to blood flow, such as clots.
To prepare for the procedure, wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes since you will most likely be asked to change into a gown or remove any covering or jewelry for the equipment to better move along the surface of the area to be investigated. In most cases, patients are asked to come with a full bladder so that the uterus, bladder wall, ovaries and prostate gland can better be seen.
The total time of the test will depend on your current condition and the type of procedure to be done. Most procedures are relatively safe and painless so you can resume normal activities as soon as the test is over. You can walk out the clinic immediately and drive home without any discomfort or side effects. Results will be available in a few hours or days.