How to Prepare for a Pelvic Ultrasound

By Diane Ursu

Pelvic ultrasounds are frequently done to diagnose gynecological problems. The uterus and ovaries can be seen well using two methods: transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound. Transabdominal ultrasound is done by placing a camera on the lower abdomen and looking through the bladder. It is ideal for finding larger abnormalities. Transvaginal ultrasound is done by inserting a camera vaginally to get a closer look at the pelvic organs. It is best for seeing smaller abnormalities and for examining the pelvic organs in greater detail.

It is necessary to have a full bladder for the transabdominal ultrasound. For this reason, a bladder prep has been designed to minimize the time the patient will have to hold her bladder.

One hour before the exam, empty your bladder. The fluid that is in your bladder at this point is not needed for the exam. After going to the bathroom, start drinking 32 ounces of water.

Fifty to 45 minutes before the exam, finish drinking the 32 ounces of water. By doing this, you will give the water time to move through the body and fill the bladder just before the exam.

Arrive at the hospital or clinic 15 minutes early. This will give you time to register and arrive at the proper place on time. Ultrasound appointments are generally on time.

The first part of the ultrasound will be the transabdominal ultrasound. This is the part that requires the full bladder. After this part of the exam is finished, you will be allowed to go to the bathroom to empty your bladder.

If the transvaginal ultrasound is required, you will be asked to undress from the waist down. You will be provided with either a sheet or a gown.

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