If you are experiencing a lot of pain in your abdomen or pelvic area, your gynecologist may recommend getting a pelvic or abdominal sonogram. A sonogram is a non-invasive test used to see inside your body, and it is often helpful in diagnosing pain in these areas. This is usually one of the first tests a doctor will recommend, and it can tell a doctor a lot of things about your body. If you've never had a sonogram before, you may have the following questions about this procedure.
What Is A Sonogram?
A sonogram, also referred to as an ultrasound, is a test that is most commonly used during pregnancy. It uses sound waves to see inside a person's body, and these sound waves are sent into the body with a small hand-held device. When the sound waves hit the internal parts of the body, the waves bounce off the organs and bones. As this happens, images are captured, and these images can be saved, analyzed, and viewed at a later point in time.
Sonograms are not painful and usually last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. For some people, getting a sonogram can be uncomfortable though. This is primarily because you might be instructed not to urinate for several hours before your exam. Having a full bladder tends to help the sonogram equipment work better, which means the technician will get a better view of what is going on inside your body.
Why Is This Test Used?
Sonograms are used first in many cases because they are easy, fast, and detailed. A sonogram poses no risks for the patient and does not require anesthesia or needles. Sonograms are done in medical offices or outpatient clinics, and they are one of the best ways to narrow down what the problem could be.
If you tell your gynecologist that you are experiencing a lot of pain during your menstrual cycle or in between cycles, he or she may want to know what is going on. By recommending a sonogram, there is a good chance your doctor will find the problem causing the pain.
If not, other tests can be used to find the issue. For example, surgeons can use laparoscopic surgery, which then allow for tests like biopsies to be run. This is an invasive procedure that will require anesthesia and may only be available at hospitals.
What Will This Test Look For?
For pelvic and abdominal pain, a sonogram will be used to examine multiple internal organs. The point of this is to look for problems, growths, and inconsistencies. Here are some examples of things your doctor will look at, and these are issues that might be responsible for the pain you are experiencing:
- Growths – Sonograms are great for finding growths, such as tumors or cysts, inside your female parts. Ovarian cysts are quite common, and these can often be discovered through a pelvic ultrasound
- Size and shape of uterus – A sonogram can help a doctor determine if your cervix is the right size and shape. Doctors can see if a woman's cervix is tilted or turned, or if the lining is too thick.
- Endometriosis – This is a condition that affects approximately 6.3 million American women, and it can be extremely painful. This condition causes the formation of irregular tissue on the female parts, and it occurs when the body cannot break down the blood during menstrual cycles.
If you are tired of living with pelvic pain, talk to your doctor about it. If your doctor suggests getting a sonogram, you should go through with it. Sonograms can reveal a lot of different issues that might be causing the pain you have.