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Pelvic sonography is the process of scanning the pelvic region, using sound waves to get a picture of the inside of the area. Medical professionals often perform pelvic sonography on women to examine areas such as the ovaries and bladder. Women who are having unexplained pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding may need to have a pelvic sonogram performed to get to the core of the problem. "Pelvic ultrasound" is another common term for pelvic sonography.
It is recommended that women wear loose clothing to a pelvic sonography appointment, because undressing from the waist down is a typical pre-pelvic sonography procedure. Patients will be given a sheet or hospital gown to cover up. Doctors may ask patients to drink a full glass of water before the procedure so the picture will come out crisp and clear. This can be a little painful or uncomfortable for women who are already having bladder or pelvic pain. Patients in pain should ask the technician for permission to use the restroom as soon as the procedure is over.
Pelvic ultrasounds are performed with the woman lying on her back. Gel is applied to the stomach and pelvis. The pelvic sonography process typically takes about 30 minutes. It is important for patients not to move. The ultrasound technician can do the procedure faster and more accurately when patients remain still.
Patients will need to wait for a doctor to review the ultrasound results, because sonographers are not allowed to discuss results or make a diagnosis. The findings discovered during a pelvic ultrasound will determine a patient's next course of action. If cysts or tumors show up in the pictures, then further testing may be needed to make sure they are not cancerous. Kidney stones and abnormalities in the shape of the bladder also can be discovered using a pelvic ultrasound. Pelvic sonography also plays a large roll in discovering ectopic pregnancies, which can be life-threatening to women.
Endometriosis also is often diagnosed through pelvic sonography. This condition occurs when lining that is supposed to be present only in the uterus is found in other parts of the body, such as the bladder, ovaries and rectum. Women may suffer from severe and debilitating pelvic pain because of this condition. Once the condition is properly diagnosed, doctors can prescribe medications or perform surgery to help improve the patient's quality of life.