Pelvic Ultrasound Scan (For Ladies)

A pelvic ultrasound scan is the most effective imaging modality used to examine the organs (uterus and ovaries) within the pelvic cavity.

Why have a pelvic ultrasound scan?

The aim of the examination is to look for a reason as to why you might be getting pain, problems or just to look for early signs of anything that may become problematic in the future.

Some benign conditions that can cause discomfort include polyps in the cavity of the uterus and fibroids in the muscle of the uterus. Simple cysts are often found on the ovaries, which can cause a range of different symptoms. It is very rare for these conditions to be harmful and most of the time no treatment is needed, some will even go away on their own. Sometimes it is a good idea to monitor these conditions as they can cause changes in the menstrual cycle. For example fibroids can grow causing periods to become more painful and heavy, whilst polyps can cause intermittent bleeding.

Ovarian Cancer

About 6,800 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year and it has now become the fifth leading cause of death from cancer amongst women and its incidence is increasing. 5 out of every 100 cancers diagnosed in women are ovarian cancers.  It is often termed “the silent killer” as it has no symptoms until it is well established in the body. Previously it was deemed to be a disease of post menopausal or older women, however, its incidence is increasing and it is becoming more common in pre-menopausal or younger women.

Ultrasound can be used to look for signs of ovarian cancer. An early diagnosis allows for the correct treatment to be given thus preventing it from spreading to other organs in the body.

Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer is the fourth commonest cancer found in women.  Unlike ovarian cancer this cancer is often symptomatic causing abnormal vaginal bleeding. Ultrasound can be used to help confirm that it may be present but it is often followed up with a biopsy where a sample of tissue is removed to confirm the diagnosis. This is a specialized procedure carried out by a Gynaecologist and is not currently offered at Kent Medical Imaging so you will need to be referred by your GP.

How is a pelvic ultrasound scan carried out?

There are two ways to perform pelvic ultrasound:

Transabdominal ultrasound – This is carried out by putting ultrasound gel on the skin surface of the abdomen. For this type of examination you will need to have a full bladder which means drinking two pints of fluid one hour before you attend for your examination.

Transvaginal ultrasound – This is an internal scan and for this examination you will not need to fill your bladder. This examination is usually painless and is routinely used at Kent Medical Imaging, unless there is a contra-indication. It is the most detailed, sensitive and appropriate method of looking at the uterus and ovaries. It can detect signs of early diseases and conditions that cannot be seen by the trans-abdominal approach, and therefore it is the method of choice for pelvic assessment and screening. At this clinic this examination is undertaken by female Ultrasonographers who will be happy to discuss the examination with you.

How do I get the results?

After the examination the Ultrasonographer will explain the findings to you. However, as we do not always have your full medical history or all your test results we may not be able to comment on everything we see on the scan.

A report will be sent to your doctor after the examination and if you self-refer we will give you a copy of your report before you leave the clinic.

If we find a problem during the scan then you will be asked to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the results.

Limitations of Ultrasound

Ultrasound does have its limitations which might mean we get limited views of your pelvic organs. These usually occur if: You have a high BMI, if your bladder is not full enough or if you have a lot of gas in your abdomen. For any of the above we may need you to come back for a follow up scan and if this is the case KMI usually carries it out ‘free’ of charge.

Ultrasound can only diagnose abnormalities if they are present at the time of the scan. Abnormalities can develop at any time and whilst the Ultrasonographers at KMI will be looking for signs of early changes in your organs they cannot predict the future. If you have any concerns about this then please discuss them with the Ultrasonographer in the room prior to starting your scan.

Yearly Pelvic Assessment

KMI offer a yearly scan to check your uterus and ovaries at a reduced rate. This is so that we can monitor any changes in your pelvis and look for early signs of ovarian and endometrial cancer. We will notify you when your appointment is due.