Pelvis ultrasound scan
If you are experiencing symptoms of pain, discomfort or in females an unusual pattern in menstrual bleeding then ultrasound is the best way to quickly determine if there are causes for concern that should be promptly addressed.
Generally speaking, pelvic ultrasound looks at the ovaries, uterus (womb), cervix, fallopian tubes and surrounding structures in females and the prostate and bladder in males.
It may also be used to follow up any previously diagnosed problems or to look for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), find an intrauterine device (IUD), check for fibroids or check out a lump that may have been noticed during a physical examination.
In females we can look at the size and shape of the cervix and uterus and the thickness of the uterine lining (endometrium). We also assess the size and shape and condition of the ovaries.
Most people know themselves when something just doesn’t feel quite right. We would urge you to trust your instincts. Though problems in the pelvis usually have a simple cause, we can rule out serious complaints giving you peace of mind or identify the need for immediate treatment.
The pelvic ultrasound scan
The scan takes around 20 minutes and we ask that you drink a 1 – 2 pints of water one hour before the scan to fill the bladder. This helps us to see more clearly.
The scan is performed trans-abdominally: the ultrasound probe is placed on your abdomen and with the help of some water-based gel, moved about on the skin. We sometimes have to apply a small amount of pressure under the transducer in order to obtain clearer images which can be a little uncomfortable but it will not be painful.
In some cases in females it may be necessary to perform an additional internal scan known as a trans-vaginal scan, especially if we need to see the lining of the womb and ovaries more clearly. It is entirely your choice and your wishes will be respected. The good news is that you can empty the bladder before this type of scan and so most women find it less uncomfortable.
Pelvis ultrasound scan results
There are numerous conditions that can be detected during the pelvic scan. The common problems found in females are fibroids and ovarian cysts and in males, an enlarged prostate gland.
Your results depend on the organ and the type of problem found. We will explain everything that we see on scan and give you a clinical report of our findings and we can send them to your doctor or healthcare provider.
Your GP is usually the best person to speak with you should you need any follow-up care or treatment. They can put your ultrasound findings together with your full medical history and refer you to a specialist if needed.
Pelvic scan for men
Pelvic ultrasound is used mainly as part of a urological assessment (looking at kidneys and bladder). It can look to:
- Find the cause of urinary problems such as stones or bladder tumours or if urinary problems are being caused by a prostate that is getting bigger, such as from benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
- Check the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland and see if a problem with the prostate gland may be causing infertility.
- Checking for a hernia.
- Ultrasound is not good at looking at problems that originate in the bowel because sounds cannot see behind bowel gas.
It can be common for couples to take up to a year to conceive naturally, however sometimes there may be a problem and specialised fertility treatment may be required.
A general pelvic ultrasound scan is generally the first line of investigation to check the uterus, ovaries and surrounding areas to establish if there is an underlying gynaecological problem such as fibroids or polycystic ovaries, which may hinder your chances of conceiving naturally or in your fertility treatment pathway.
Pelvic scans in pregnancy
A pelvic scan can confirm a pregnancy and check that it is within the uterus. It is used to check the age of the pregnancy, whether the pregnancy is single or multiple and rule out a tubal pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy). Check out the links below for more detailed information about pregnancy scans: