Due to safety and accuracy, ultrasound is often used to examine organs that are located between the pelvic bones. Primarily organs of the genitourinary system. Pelvic ultrasound shows organs in dynamics and this simplifies diagnosis and makes it quite easy to find any abnormalities.
When will the doctor prescribe a pelvic ultrasound?
Patients, either male or female undergo ultrasound examinations of the pelvic floor if there is suspicion of urinary system diseases such as urinary stone disease, tumours in the ureters, cystitis and others. To examine the organs with the help of ultrasound it can be done through the abdominal wall or rectal. In most cases, the second method is the most preferable. For instance if due to incontinence it is impossible to fill the bladder prior to the examination.
However, in most cases, ultrasound of the pelvic floor is done if there are conditions related to the sexual sphere such as infertility, pain, impotence and tumours. For patients either male or female, doctors will use different types of ultrasound that is can best examine the affected organs.
What types of ultrasounds are there?
Men and women have different anatomies and for that reason there are several types of pelvic ultrasounds. Some can be used for both male and female while others are either only for men only or for female only.
- Common for both sexes is transabdominal ultrasound. In it, the study is carried out through the anterior abdominal wall. It’s produces a well-distinguished bladder and ovaries.
- For a qualitative examination of pelvic organs in women use transvaginal examination. It allows you to monitor the entire sexual system including the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
- To examine the intestines and prostate the transrectal ultrasound is used by injecting the sensor into the rectum.
Women usually undergo a full pelvic ultrasound and for one examination they will undergo both transabdominal an transvaginal examination.
When men undergo this procedure the doctor usually checks the prostate only using the transrectal examination and to examine the bladder they use separate ultrasounds.
Features of women’s ultrasound
There are various reasons why doctors opt for ultrasound of the pelvic organs.
- The gynaecologist was unable to determine the cause of the complaints during the visual examination.
- You plan to have an abortion, install an intrauterine spiral or surgically treat the uterus and ovaries – ultrasound will help to avoid complications.
- For prevention, regardless of age , so you can find diseases at the earliest stage, while the symptoms are still invisible.
Moreover, ultrasound of the pelvic floor is also prescribed before undergoing operations of neighbouring organs such as the rectum, kidneys and pancreas.
The most accurate results will be gotten by transvaginal ultrasound as it helps in the diagnosis of almost all diseases of the female reproductive system such as:
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine tumours,
- Abnormal organ development
- Endometrial polyps
- Obstruction of pipes
- Adhesions of internal organs
- Frozen or ectopic pregnancy
Pregnant women often undergo trasnabdominal pelvic ultrasound to control development of the foetus. This is a fairly safe examination as it does not harm the baby. Ultrasound of the pelvic floor will also help in identification of gender of the child.
Features of male ultrasound
On rare occasions do we have pelvic ultrasounds for men. This is because of the peculiarities of the physiology as little can be discerned. The organs are far away and they cannot be examined using this method. The small pelvis of men includes bladder, rectum, prostate gland and testes. The external sex organs of men are not usually examined during the pelvic ultrasound. In most cases the doctor will recommend a separate examination of the bladder or prostate rather than performing a full examination of the pelvic floor.
However, the general examination is the most preferable and the doctor will only prescribe an ultrasound if you have the following conditions:
- Painful and frequent urination
- A constant feeling of bladder fullness
- Unnatural discharges from the urethra
- Chronic prostate disease
This type of examination is only done if there are potency problems. If you have ever had sexually transmitted infections then it should be done on a regular basis so as to avoid complications.
The examination is done transabdominally and rectally. In the first case, the bladder and testes will be examined and in the second, the prostate gland will be examined. After receiving the pictures, you will need to undergo more accurate examinations such as urine analysis, a spermogram and CT scan.
What do you need to know about pelvic ultrasound?
Preparation for ultrasound depends on its type:
- For transabdominal examination, the bladder should be full.
- In transrectal examination the bladder should be half full and the inetsines should be empty.
- For transvaginal the bladder and intestines should be empty.
To do this, you can drink about half a litre of water an hour an half prior to the examination time. Before going for a trasnrectal ultrasound it is advisable that you make an enema to cleanse the rectum.
You should avoid consuming a diet that contains foods that increase the formation of gas two to three days prior to the examination. Such foods include fibre rich vegetables such as cabbages, onions and radishes, legumes, bread, cereals and dairy products. You can opt for sorbents and light foods for one or two days.
Remember to maintain high standards of hygiene before visiting the doctor. Carry a towel that you will use to wipe out the gel and a sheet to place on the couch. For greater comfort, you can wear clothes that are easy to remove or push back such as a wide T-shirt, skirt or loose pants. Ensure that you capture all conclusions from previous ultrasound studies as this will help the doctor in tracking teh dynamics and prescribe further examinations if there is need.