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

There are three types of pelvic ultrasound:

  • abdominal (transabdominal)
  • vaginal (transvaginal, endovaginal) for women
  • rectal (transrectal) for men

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

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

  • uterus
  • cervix
  • ovaries
  • fallopian tubes
  • bladder

Pelvic ultrasound exams are also used to monitor the health and development of an embryo or fetus during pregnancy.

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

  • pelvic pain
  • abnormal bleeding
  • other menstrual problems

and help identify:

  • palpable masses such as ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids
  • ovarian or uterine cancers

A transvaginal ultrasound is usually performed to view the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, and the ovaries. Transvaginal ultrasound also provides a good way to evaluate the muscular walls of the uterus, called the myometrium. Sonohysterography allows for a more in-depth investigation of the uterine cavity. Three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound permits evaluation of the uterus and ovaries in planes that cannot be imaged directly. These exams are typically performed to detect:

  • uterine anomalies
  • uterine scars
  • endometrial polyps
  • fibroids
  • cancer, especially in patients with abnormal uterine bleeding