Pelvic ultrasound: indications and examination procedure

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Pelvic ultrasound: indications and examination procedure

What is a pelvic ultrasound?

A pelvic ultrasound is a medical imaging technique (based on the use of ultrasound) performed by a radiologist or gynecologist in order to accurately observe the uterus, ovaries, bladder and kidneys - in women - or kidneys, prostate, bladder and seminal vesicles - in humans.

What's the point ? Prescribed by a gynecologist, a general practitioner or a midwife, the pelvic ultrasound may have several indications:

  • Uterine pathology (fibroid or myoma of the uterus, cancer of the uterus (endometrium or myometrium), cancer of the cervix ...),
  • Ovarian pathology (ovarian cancer, functional or organic cysts, malignant or benign ...),
  • Bladder pathology (that is, bladder problems),
  • To ensure proper positioning of an IUD,
  • To search for endometrial lesions,
  • In case of pelvic pain or unexplained vaginal bleeding,
  • To make an assessment of infertility, visualize the follicular activity or confirm the existence of an ovulation,
  • To identify any malformations of the uterus.

Pelvic ultrasound, how are you doing?

Pelvic ultrasound can be performed in a radiology office (private or public), in the hospital or at the clinic. The exam lasts between 15 and 20 minutes. He is supported by Social Security. It is necessary to present with the bladder full, which means that you should drink (at least) one to two hours before the appointment the equivalent of a small bottle of water (500 mL to 1L).

Pelvic ultrasound begins with a ultrasound by the suprapubic route, performed with a convex probe placed above the pubis, after the application of a gel facilitating the propagation of ultrasound.

Specifically, the radiologist (or gynecologist) will move the probe on the patient / patient's lower abdomen (who has a full bladder, therefore) and will make images of the genitals and bladder.

During the first part of this examination, the patient keeps their underwear. There is no anesthesia.

Second stage of pelvic ultrasound: theendovaginal ultrasound, which allows a more precise study of the uterus and ovaries of the patient. If it must of course remove her panties and settle in gynecological position, his privacy is hidden under a sheet. It should be noted that the patient has the right to refuse this examination; there are also some contraindications - virginity, pain ...

The oblong probe introduced into the vagina is covered with a European standard protection; between exams, it is cleaned with virucidal wipes; in case of breakage of the protection, it is carefully disinfected by a disinfection protocol.

Is it painful? Endovaginal ultrasound is not painful, except in cases of vaginal dryness in the menopausal patient.

To know : in humans, an endorectal ultrasound will be used to visualize the prostate and the seminal vesicles more precisely. The probe will then be placed in the patient's rectum.

Are there any side effects? Normally, no adverse effects are to be deplored after a pelvic ultrasound. In some cases, however, small bleeding may occur.

Thanks to Dr. Agnès Coulon and Dr. Corinne Rannou, radiologists Léon Bérard Center (Lyon).

Read also :

⋙ Gynecologists want to end the "epidemic" of cesarean section

⋙ Gynecology: a pair of panties to keep during the examination so as not to completely undress

⋙ Grandmother's remedy: a gynecologist explains why it is important not to put garlic in her vagina to cure a mycosis

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