Pelvic Ultrasound

A pelvic ultrasound provides pictures of the structures and organs in the lower abdomen or pelvis.

Types of Pelvic Ultrasound

  • Abdominal (transabdominal)
  • Vaginal (transvaginal, endovaginal) for women

A Doppler ultrasound exam may be part of a pelvic ultrasound exam.

Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood velocity as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.

Common Uses of Pelvic Ultrasound

In women, a pelvic or abdominal ultrasound is most often performed to evaluate the:

  • Bladder
  • Cervix
  • Ovaries
  • Uterus

Pelvic ultrasound exams are also used to monitor the health and development of an embryo or fetus during pregnancy (see the Obstetrical Ultrasound page).

Ultrasound examinations can help diagnose symptoms experienced by women such as:

  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Other menstrual problems

and help identify:

  • Fibroids
  • Ovarian or uterine cancers
  • Palpable masses such as ovarian cysts and uterine

In men, a pelvic or abdominal ultrasound is used to evaluate the:

  • Bladder
  • Prostate
  • Seminal vesicles

In men and women, a pelvic ultrasound exam can help identify:

  • Kidney stones
  • Tumors
  • Other disorders in the urinary bladder

Pelvic ultrasound also is used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which needles are used to extract a sample of cells from organs for laboratory testing.

Doppler Ultrasound

Doppler ultrasound images can help your doctor see and evaluate:

  • Blockages to blood flow (such as clots).
  • Narrowing of vessels (which may be caused by plaque).
  • Tumors and congenital malformation.