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Ultrasound Assessment of Female Pelvic Organs - Key Points

A pelvic ultrasound is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to produce images of the female pelvic organs. These images allow your doctor to assess your pelvic structures and organs including the uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Ultrasound uses a transducer that sends out ultrasound waves at a high, inaudible frequency. These sound waves bounce off the organs like an echo and return to the transducer. The transducer processes the reflected waves, which are then converted by a computer into an image of the organs or tissues being examined.

An ultrasound gel is placed on the transducer and the skin to allow for smooth movement of the transducer over the skin and to eliminate air between the skin and the transducer for the best sound conduction.

Types/Methods of Ultrasound:

  • Transabdominal (through the tummy) - the transducer is placed on the abdomen with the ultrasound gel.
  • Transvaginal - A long, thin transducer is covered with the conducting gel and a plastic/latex sheath and is inserted into the vagina

Risks of Pelvic Ultrasound

There are very few risks from pelvic ultrasound due to the lack of radiation used for imaging. You may, however, experience some discomfort during the insertion of the transducer into the vagina if you undergo a transvaginal ultrasound.

Certain factors may reduce the effectiveness of the test:

  • Obesity
  • Intestinal Gas
  • Inadequately filled bladder - a full bladder moves the uterus up and the bowel out of the way for more effective imaging.
Find out more about Pelvic Ultrasound:
RisksReasons for UltrasoundPre/Post Operative InstructionsPelvic Ultrasound Specialists
Length of procedure:
15-20 Minutes
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Reasons why you might be referred for an Ultrasound

  • To determine problems with the shape, size or structure of your uterus.
  • To look for cancer in your pelvic organs (bladder, ovaries, uterus)
  • To identify non-cancerous tumours, polyps and fibriods.
  • To identify the cause of excessive bleeding or pelvic pain.
  • To locate an IUD

Pre-operative Instructions

Preparing for your procedure:

  • EAT/DRINK : Drink a minimum of 700ml of clear fluid, preferably water, at least one hour before your appointment. Do not urinate until after the ultrasound.
  • Generally, no fasting or sedation is required for a pelvic ultrasound, unless the ultrasound is part of another procedure that requires anaesthesia.
  • For a transvaginal ultrasound, you should empty your bladder right before the procedure.
  • Your doctor will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
  • Based on your medical condition, your doctor may request other specific preparation

Pelvic Ultrasound - Specialists

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Ruchira is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with her NHS practice based at Birmingham Women's Hospital in Edgbaston. She is the Clinical Director of Gynaecology at her NHS Trust.

Ruchira is a reviewer for European Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology. She is also a Senior clinical examiner and Honorary lecturer for University of Birmingham.

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Dr Mamta Pathak

Dr Mamta Pathak

Consultant Gynaecologist

Dr Mamta specialises in office Gynaecology consultations and procedures, having helped to establish and develop the office Gynaecology department in the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals.

Office Gynaecological procedures have made a significant clinical impact by removing the need for general anaesthesia, thereby allowing for a quick recovery following treatment.

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