Which parts of the body are examined by a pelvic ultrasound exam?
A pelvic ultrasound in females looks primarily at the uterus and ovaries, but the bladder may also be visualized. In males, the pelvic ultrasound usually focuses on the bladder and the prostate gland.
What happens during the exam?
The patient lies on a table with the lower abdominal area exposed. The sonographer (technologist who performs the exam) will put a warm water-based gel on the skin surface. The gel helps to transmit sound waves by excluding air. An instrument called a transducer will be moved over the skin surface by the sonographer. Female exams frequently incorporate a vaginal probe (transducer) to assure an even clearer look at the female organs.
How do I prepare for this test?
You may eat regular meals prior to the exam. The only special preparation is to have a full bladder at the time of the exam. Therefore, you should drink 32 ounces of water (four eight-ounce glasses, or one quart) before the exam. Start drinking it one hour before the exam, and finish drinking it one half hour before the exam. Do not urinate before the exam. Vaginal probe exams have no preparation required and may be performed if the urinary bladder is not adequately filled.
How long will it take?
The exam will take approximately 20 minutes.
Will it hurt?
No. Under some circumstances the placement of the vaginal probe in women may be temporarily uncomfortable but is not typically painful. If this portion of the exam is painful, the technologist will make other efforts to obtain the necessary pictures while minimizing your discomfort.
How will I learn the results?
Call your physician to discuss the results.