ABSTRACT: Acute pelvic pain in the female patient can have myriad presentations and, depending on the diagnosis, profound consequences. In the pregnant patient with pelvic pain or bleeding, an ectopic pregnancy must be first excluded. Ultrasound is important in determining the size and location of the ectopic pregnancy, and presence of bleeding, which in turn helps guide treatment decisions. Subchorionic or subplacental bleeds in an intrauterine pregnancy may also present with vaginal bleeding with consequences dependent on gestational age and size of bleed. In the postpartum female suspected to have retained products of conception, sonographic findings may vary from a thickened endometrial stripe to an echogenic mass with associated marked vascularity, often mimicking an arterial-venous malformation. In the nonpregnant patient, early diagnosis and treatment of ovarian torsion can preserve ovarian function. Other causes of peritoneal irritation may also cause acute pelvic pain including a ruptured hemorrhagic cyst or ruptured endometrioma. When pelvic inflammatory disease is suspected, imaging is used to evaluate for serious associated complications including the presence of a tuboovarian abscess or peritonitis. While leiomyomas of the uterus are largely asymptomatic, a leiomyoma that undergoes necrosis, torsion or prolapse through the cervix may be associated with acute severe pain or bleeding. The imaging features of these and other important clinical entities in the female pelvis will be presented.
Seminars in Ultrasound CT and MRI 11/2008; 29(5):353-68. · 1.24 Impact Factor