When Is the Best Time To Get a Pelvic Ultrasound?

The term pelvic ultrasound is used to describe a transabdominal, transvaginal, and transrectal ultrasound or sonograph. Conducted internally or externally, an ultrasound exam uses soundwaves which bounce off your internal organs, bones, and tissue to reveal an image of your pelvic area. This technology has been used since the late 50s to monitor the growth and development of fetuses. As the technology progressed, its imaging capabilities improved, proving it a reliable imaging technology to detect other abnormalities in the pelvic region. But women often wonder when is the best time to get a pelvic ultrasound? Let’s take a deeper look into pelvic ultrasounds to answer your questions.

How is a Pelvic Ultrasound Conducted?

Pelvic ultrasounds can be conducted externally over the abdomen or internally through the vagina or rectum. The doctor will ask you to drink water before the examination to get clearer images as the fluid helps conduct the sound waves. The doctor will apply a gel to your abdomen to help the transducer glide across your pelvis. Then the doctor will examine the images on the screen to look for anything out of the ordinary. The doctor will insert a wand into the rectal or vaginal cavity for internal exams to gather images. The doctor or sonographer may struggle to get clear images if your bladder isn’t full, if you have intestinal gas, severe obesity, or barium in your intestines from a recent barium procedure.

When to Get a Pelvic Ultrasound

Ultrasounds are most used at various intervals during pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of the fetus and to look for abnormalities. If you aren’t pregnant, however, there are various other reasons for a doctor to conduct a pelvic ultrasound. Doctors often use ultrasound as a fast and non-invasive—or minimally invasive—diagnostic tool if there is a reason for concern based on your particular symptoms.

A doctor may conduct a pelvic ultrasound if you experience:

What Can a Pelvic Ultrasound Detect?

Pelvic ultrasounds can detect various abnormalities based on the information gathered from the imagery. Doctors can locate pelvic masses, examine their structure, and assess their size. Doctors are unlikely to provide an exact diagnosis of any particular disease, condition, or cancer. Still, they will better understand how to proceed with treatment or further diagnostic methods.

Pelvic ultrasounds can detect:

  • Benign growths such as masses, fibroids, cysts, and tumours in the pelvis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Ectopic pregnancies
  • Monitor fetal growth
  • The cause of abnormal pain or bleeding
  • The presence of an IUD
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Endometrial tissue
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

The best time to get a pelvic ultrasound is typically when your doctor suggests it to search for abnormalities that may cause any unusual symptoms. Ultrasounds are a brilliant diagnostic tool because they are non-invasive or minimally invasive. There are no known harmful effects on humans, and it is a safe and reliable imaging tool.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.