What is a pelvic ultrasound?
A pelvic ultrasound allows fertility staff and doctors to assess the structures present within the female pelvis and provide valuable insight into a patient’s ovaries, endometrial lining and uterus. This technology can diagnose potential fertility issues and help physicians prescribe the correct medications and treatments.
The purpose of a pelvic ultrasound
A pelvic ultrasound, also known as a pelvic sonography or pelvic scan, uses a transducer that sends out sound waves to generate an image of a woman’s organs within the pelvis. These images allow for quick visualization of the cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina, bladder and fallopian tubes.
Pelvic ultrasound can be used to:
- Examine the structure of a patient’s uterus or ovaries
- Search for signs of cancer within the reproductive organs
- Locate an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Look for benign growths like cysts
- Diagnose the cause of abdominal pain
- Evaluate potential fertility problems
- Monitor a baby’s growth during pregnancy
- Diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
These scans will provide insight into important information without the need of invasive or radiation-emitting forms of imaging. During fertility treatments, your doctors may also use specialist ultrasounds to monitor:
- Follicle development within the ovaries
- Egg retrievals during IVF
- Embryo transfers in later stages of IVF
The pelvic ultrasound procedure
During a pelvic scan, your doctor will apply a special ultrasound gel before using a transducer to send waves that move through the body and its internal structures and organs. Sound waves bounce off structures within the pelvis (much like an echo) before returning to the imaging device.
Sound waves travel at varying speeds depending on the type of tissue the waves encounter. A computer within the transducer processes the information before converting it into a visual image in real-time. The entire process should take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.
After your pelvic ultrasound
Because this procedure is minimally invasive, patients can often leave right after the procedure and resume usual activities.