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Pelvic Ultrasound



  • Pelvic ultrasound is a way to take pictures of the pelvic organs.
  • Your bladder needs to be full before abdominal pelvic ultrasound - drink a lot of water!
  • The procedure isn't painful, but you may be uncomfortable until you can go to the bathroom.

A pelvic ultrasound is a way to take pictures of the pelvic organs of a female and is usually done to look at the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and the bladder. An ultrasound may help your doctor figure out the cause of your pain, lack of periods, or cause of irregular periods.


How should I prepare for a pelvic ultrasound?

Most often you'll need to have a full bladder (where urine is stored) before the procedure. This means you must drink a lot of water before you arrive for the test - usually about 32 ounces or 4 tall glasses. If your bladder isn't full when you arrive, you will be asked to drink more water.


Is a pelvic ultrasound painful?

The test itself is not painful but you may feel a little uncomfortable since your bladder will be full until you pass urine (pee) after the test.


What happens during the pelvic ultrasound?

You will lie on your back on an exam table while the technician places a warm gel on your lower belly with something that looks like a microphone. The technician will gently move this microphone-like instrument around your belly. You will probably feel a little bit of pressure but you shouldn't feel any pain. The instrument actually makes a picture by picking up sound waves. The ultrasound is usually performed on your belly, but sometimes is done through the vagina. The procedure takes about 10-20 minutes.


After the test you may use the bathroom. You will feel a lot better once you pee and empty your bladder. Your health care provider will let you know the results when they are available.


If you're scheduled to have an ultrasound at Boston Children's Hospital, here is more information on how to prepare for the test.


Written and reviewed by the CYWH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital


Updated: 2/12/2013


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