Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Pelvic Ultrasound

How It Is Done continued...

You will lie on your back (or on your side) on a padded table. Gel will be put on your belly to improve the quality of the sound waves. A small, handheld instrument called a transducer is gently moved over your belly. A picture of the organs and blood vessels can be seen on a video screen.

You need to lie very still while the ultrasound is being done. You may be asked to take a breath and hold it for several seconds during the test.

Pelvic ultrasound takes about 30 minutes. You may be asked to wait until the doctor has looked at the pictures. The doctor may want to do more pictures.

Transabdominal ultrasound

For transabdominal ultrasound camera.gif, you will need to drink 4 to 6 glasses of juice or water about an hour before the test. Do not empty your bladder until the test is over. If you cannot drink enough fluid, your bladder may be filled with water through a thin flexible tube (catheter) inserted into your bladder.

When the test is done, the gel is cleaned off your skin. You can urinate as soon as the test is done.

Transrectal ultrasound

For transrectal ultrasound camera.gif, you will be asked to lie on your left side with your knees bent. A digital rectal examination will be done before the ultrasound test. Then a lubricated transducer probe will be gently inserted into your rectum. It will slowly be moved to take pictures from different angles. You may feel some pressure. Water may be put into your rectum to clean the end of the transducer so that clear pictures can be seen.

Transvaginal ultrasound

For transvaginal ultrasound camera.gif, you will empty your bladder. You will be asked to lie on your back with your hips slightly raised.

A thin, lubricated transducer probe will be gently inserted into your vagina. Only the tip of the transducer is put in the vagina. You need to lie very still while the ultrasound scan is being done.

Transvaginal ultrasound may give more information than transabdominal ultrasound for women who:

  • Are very overweight.
  • Are being checked or treated for infertility.
  • Have a hard time with a full bladder.
  • Have a lot of gas in the intestines. This makes it harder for your doctor to see all the organs in the pelvis.

Transvaginal ultrasound often makes a clearer picture than transabdominal ultrasound because the transducer probe gets closer to the organs being viewed. But transvaginal ultrasound looks at a smaller area than transabdominal ultrasound.

In rare cases, sterile saline is put in the uterus through a thin tube (catheter), to allow the doctor to look at the inside of the uterus (hysterosonogram).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 08, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
Couple with troubles
Article
Bone density illustration
VIDEO
 
Young woman being vaccinated
Slideshow
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow
 
Blood pressure check
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
intimate couple
Article
puppy eating
Slideshow