What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a noninvasive medical test that helps diagnose and treat many gynecologic conditions.

Ultrasound is safe and painless.  It produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves.  It does not use x-rays, so there is no radiation exposure.

During an ultrasound, a probe is placed against the body.  Sound waves from the probe bounce off your internal organs, return to the probe, and a computer analyzes the waves and creates a live picture.

A pelvic ultrasound is used to evaluate the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and bladder.  It is often used for evaluation of pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, pelvic masses, and other problems.  It can identify ovarian cysts or tumors, uterine fibroids or polyps, ovarian or uterine cancers.

Before the Procedure:

No preparation is necessary.  You may be asked to empty your bladder before the procedure.

During the procedure:

You will be lying face up on an exam table, undressed from the waist down.  The probe is pressed against your skin, with some warmed gel, and gently moved back and forth across your lower abdomen.  A vaginal probe may be used.  If so, a protective cover is placed over the probe, and the probe is inserted a few inches inside the vagina, and moved gently to view the uterus and ovaries.

You may experience some pressure, but an ultrasound does not cause pain.  Sometimes the probe presses against something that’s hurting, and that is uncomfortable.  Please tell us if you experience pain during the procedure.

After the procedure:

Most of the gel is wiped off.  A small amount of remaining gel is not harmful.  It is water-based, so it will not stain clothing.

After you are dressed, your provider will review the ultrasound with you.

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