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Pelvic ultrasound

A non-invasive diagnostic procedure to look inside your pelvis

Clinician holding a pelvic ultrasound probe
A pelvic ultrasound is a non-invasive exam that produces images of inside your pelvis in order to understand more about your pelvic health. It is done using a probe that gives off high-frequency sound waves that create an image of the inside of your body. These images are relayed on a monitor for your doctor to look at and diagnose any problems with your pelvis, such as a cyst, a growth, or inflammation.

Your pelvis is the area below your abdomen between your hip bones. It contains several reproductive organs, including your vagina, cervix, and uterus. There are many reasons why you might need a pelvic ultrasound scan, which we explain in more detail below.

An ultrasound scan is usually performed by either a sonographer, a consultant gynaecologist, or a consultant radiographer. A sonographer is a specialist healthcare professional trained in diagnostic image testing. They are highly experienced in performing a variety of types of ultrasounds to look inside various areas of your body. A consultant gynaecologist specialises in women's health conditions and treating a broad scope of issues that affect women, while a radiographer specialises in performing a variety of scans to diagnose and monitor treatment for many conditions - this includes CT scans and MRI scans, as well as ultrasound scans.

How can I book this type of scan?

At Circle Health Group, we have a large network of specialists who can perform your ultrasound scan and diagnose any issues with your pelvis. In order to have a pelvic ultrasound, you will usually need to be referred to have one by one of our consultants. To book an appointment with a gynaecologist, use our online booking portal or give us a call directly.

If you have been told to book directly with us for a scan, call our team and we'll help you. You can't book a scan directly online.

The cost of a pelvic ultrasound scan with Circle Health Group varies depending on where you have the test as well as your reasons for having it.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

If you have private health insurance, the diagnostic test will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

There are several reasons why you might need a pelvic ultrasound scan. You might be recommended the scan if you have any of the following symptoms:

A pelvic ultrasound scan can help diagnose a number of conditions. These include:

The scan helps us to identify the cause of your symptoms, from which we can make a diagnosis and start considering treatment options.

We will usually have an appointment available with a consultant gynaecologist within 48 hours. Give us a call and we'll help you find an appointment time that suits you.

During this initial appointment, your consultant will ask about your general health and your medical history in detail. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions, as well as the current pelvic symptoms you are experiencing. They'll ask you how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have had any treatment for them yet.

In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of your concern, your consultant will next carry out a gentle physical examination of your tummy to check for any lumps or sore spots. If they think it's the right choice for you, they will organise for you to have an ultrasound to look inside your pelvis, either with them or one of our radiographers.

This is a safe space for you to ask your consultant as many questions as you like, however big or small. They will be an expert in performing pelvic ultrasounds and diagnosing pelvic issues. After your consultant has diagnosed your condition, they will build your treatment plan accordingly.

There is not a huge amount you can do to prepare for a pelvic ultrasound scan. Generally, no fasting before the scan is needed, but you might have to drink a minimum of 24 ounces of water at least one hour before the appointment. Having a full bladder helps ensure your consultant or radiographer can see inside your pelvis properly and that the images produced are of a high quality. You might also be asked to empty your bladder just before your scan for a similar reason.

Your consultant will ensure you have all the information you need before the scan, so you know exactly what to expect from it. You can ask them any questions about the scan, how it is performed, and whether you need to do anything to prepare for it.

There are two different kinds of pelvic ultrasounds, each performed using a different technique.

A transabdominal ultrasound

During this kind of ultrasound, you will begin by lying on a bed and removing any jewelry that could interfere with the scan. Your healthcare professional will apply a cold gel to your tummy and place the probe against your skin, moving it around your pelvic area to look inside your pelvis. Images of the inside of your pelvis will be relayed on a computer screen to be examined. The test takes around 15 to 30 minutes.

A transvaginal ultrasound scan

An internal examination allows your healthcare to look more closely inside your body at organs such as your ovaries and womb. During the test, you'll be asked to either lie on your back, or on your side with your knees drawn up towards your chest. Your healthcare professional will insert a small ultrasound probe inside your vagina. They will use a lubricating gel to ensure the probe is gently inserted.

The probe works in the same way as a transabdominal probe, relaying images of the inside of your pelvis to a computer screen for your healthcare professional to examine. The test takes around 15 to 30 minutes.

Getting your results

In some instances, your healthcare professional will be able to diagnose your concern there and then. This is possible with both types of pelvic ultrasound. In other cases, they might need to perform a biopsy, which is when they remove a sample of tissue from your pelvis and send it to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope. This is usually arranged if your healthcare professional finds a cluster of unusual cells (a growth) in your pelvis, and they want to know whether this is a cancerous or noncancerous growth.

Your healthcare professional will ensure you know when to expect any biopsy and scan results, so you feel informed at all times. You will usually receive your results within a few days of having your scan if you do not get them there and then at your appointment.

There is no recovery period for a pelvic ultrasound scan because it is a noninvasive test. You can return home on the same day as the test and return to your usual everyday routine as normal. You can also drive home yourself, if needed.

The test itself doesn’t have risks. It doesn’t use radiation and it shouldn’t cause any pain. A pelvic ultrasound is a perfectly safe and effective way to diagnose several pelvic issues, so we encourage you to have a test if you are experiencing any pelvic symptoms.

Can you have a pelvic ultrasound on your period?

Yes, the scan be performed at any stage of your cycle, regardless of whether you have your period.

How long does a pelvic ultrasound take?

The scan can take up to 30 minutes.

Does a pelvic ultrasound scan hurt?

The scan should be painless. You might feel a small amount of discomfort if you have an internal scan, but your healthcare professional will ensure they insert the probe as gently as possible to avoid this.

Does a pelvic ultrasound show cancer?

An ultrasound can detect growths and cysts in your pelvis, but it cannot determine whether these are cancerous or noncancerous. A sample of tissue will need to be taken from the growth (a biopsy) and examined under a microscope to diagnose cancer.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times to fit your schedule
  • The freedom to choose your hospital and your consultant
  • Bespoke, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfy private rooms if you need to stay overnight
  • Tasty and nutritious meals cooked onsite to your dietary requirements
  • Support from the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help spread the cost of your care

If you want to know more about ultrasound or any other treatments we offer, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. Pelvic ultrasound, Johns Hopkins Medicine
  2. Ultrasound scan, NHS
  3. Pelvic ultrasound, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

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