Ultrasound can be used to diagnose and monitor gynecologic problems such as a pelvic mass, abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, or infertility. Pelvic ultrasound offers a quick visualization of the female pelvic organs and structures and can show the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries. A pelvic ultrasound may be done as an abdominal scan, as with most ultrasounds during pregnancy, or they may be a transvaginal ultrasound to allow for a better view of the uterus and ovaries. The type of ultrasound to be used will depend on which method will provide the information needed for diagnosis or treatment.
Transabdominal: A transducer is placed on the abdomen using conductive gel to scan through the abdomen.
Transvaginal: A long, wand transducer is covered by a plastic sheath, coated with conducting gel, and inserted into the vagina.
Gynecologic pelvic ultrasound can be used to evaluate:
- The size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries
- Thickness and length of the cervix
- Changes in the shape of the bladder
- Blood flow through pelvic organs
- Thickness and presence of fluids or masses in the endometrium (lining of the uterus), myometrium (uterine muscle tissue), fallopian tubes, and ovaries, or in or near the bladder.
This imaging helps assist in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of gynecologic conditions, including:
- Fibroid tumors (benign growths), masses, cysts, and other types of tumors within the pelvic region
- Presence and position of an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD)
- Pelvic pain
- Pelvic masses—predominantly uterine and ovarian fibroids
- Postmenopausal bleeding
Ultrasound may also assist in evaluation of infertility, as well as to discern ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy occurring outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube).