Pelvic Ultrasound

What is pelvic ultrasound?

A pelvic ultrasound (sonogram) uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of organs and other structures in the lower abdomen (pelvis).

Pelvic ultrasound can be done three ways:

  • Transabdominal ultrasound, which uses a small handheld instrument called a transducer, passed back and forth over the skin of the lower abdomen
  • Transrectal ultrasound, which uses a transducer shaped to fit into the rectum
  • Transvaginal ultrasound, which uses a transducer shaped to fit into a woman’s vagina

Who needs pelvic ultrasound?

A pelvic ultrasound may be recommended to find the cause of blood in the urine, difficult urination, or pelvic pain.

For women, pelvic ultrasound may be recommended to:

  • Find the cause of unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Locate a misplaced intrauterine device
  • Monitor the condition and size of the ovaries during infertility treatment
  • Confirm a pregnancy, determine the age of an unborn baby, check the viability of a pregnancy, or detect an ectopic or multiple pregnancy
  • Get more information on a lump, fibroid, or other mass found during a physical examination of the pelvis
  • Help guide instruments used to remove an ovarian follicle for in vitro fertilization

For men, a pelvic ultrasound may be done to:

  • Examine the seminal vesicles, and the texture, size, and condition of the prostate gland
  • Diagnose prostate cancer or enlargement
  • Find the cause of infertility

Pelvic ultrasound is performed by the order of a physician.