How To Prepare For A Pelvic Ultrasound

Suppose you have abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during sex, irregular periods, or lower abdominal pain. Your doctor might then order a pelvic ultrasound, a radiology procedure that uses sound waves to create images of the pelvic organs. Before you head off to the radiologist’s office for your appointment, let’s discuss what a pelvic ultrasound is, why your doctor might order one, what it can detect and tips on preparing for the procedure.

What Is A Pelvic Ultrasound?

A pelvic ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce pictures of the bladder and surrounding organs. The test can be used to detect abnormalities in the uterus, ovaries, or other reproductive organs. This type of ultrasound can detect many types of problems, such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones and tumors. 

A pelvic ultrasound can check for: 

  • Bladder stones that might need to be removed
  • Kidney disease that may require treatment.
  • Tumors, cysts, and other problems with the ovaries or uterus.
  • Problems in the urinary tract such as infections or stones
  • A pelvic ultrasound can also detect pregnancy.

What Happens During A Pelvic Ultrasound?

The ultrasound is performed while you are lying on your back. The doctor will insert a lubricated probe into the vagina to access the cervix and uterus, which might require some discomfort or pressure.

As soon as the probe is in place, you will be asked to relax, and the doctor will use a hand-held device called a transducer to reflect sound waves off of your organs. After the transducer has picked up the reflected waves, a picture of the organs is created.

What Do I Need To Know Before My Pelvic Ultrasound?

If you are getting ready for a pelvic ultrasound, talk with your doctor about what type of preparation they recommend before the examination:

  • Avoid using laxatives after midnight before your appointment 
  • Wear loose clothing or bring something to change into after the hospital gowns if necessary
  • Drink lots of water or fluids so that your bladder is full and easier to view on the screen during the exam
  • Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and any supplements.
  • Make sure you have someone to drive/escort you home after your exam (you may feel dizzy from having been lying down for so long).

Why Does My Bladder Need To Be Full For A Pelvic Ultrasound?

This is one of the most common questions we get about this procedure, so let’s address it. Pelvic ultrasound is most commonly used to detect abnormal growths or conditions in the female pelvic area. A bladder full of urine helps with these types of exams because it provides an image that is clearer and more detailed than when there is no fluid present.

Be Ready For Your Pelvic Ultrasound

If you are scheduled for a pelvic ultrasound, it is essential to know what will happen during the exam to prepare beforehand and make sure nothing interferes with the results. At Rosetta Radiology, pelvic ultrasounds are a commonplace diagnostic procedure, and we are here to help you alleviate any anxiety or uncertainty you may have before the exam. Contact us today to schedule your pelvic ultrasound.