What does a pelvic mri with contrast show?

Ah, the pelvis. A vital part of our human anatomy that is oftentimes overlooked and not given enough credit for what it does. But fret not, because we are here to talk about one of the ways we can give some love to our pelvic region: by getting a pelvic MRI with contrast.

Now you may be wondering, “What does this test even show?” Well my friend, that’s exactly what we’ll be diving into today. So sit back, relax those glutes, and let’s get started.

What is a Pelvic MRI with Contrast?

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pelvis is a non-invasive diagnostic tool used by healthcare professionals to gain insight into different structures within your pelvic region. An MRI scan uses powerful magnets and radio waves along with special computers to capture detailed images of soft tissues in your body (pretty cool stuff if I do say so myself).

The addition of contrast material refers to injecting a dye called gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA) through an IV in your arm mid-test. This makes certain details stand out on the final image so medical professionals can more accurately identify any abnormalities or areas needing further attention.

Who Needs It?

Pelvic MRIs are typically ordered when another diagnostic test has raised concerns about potential issues within the area being scanned—or as part of routine monitoring for certain conditions such as cancer patients or folks living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Talk to your doctor if you feel like you have symptoms related to issues in this area—such as chronic pain, bloating or changes in bowel movements—to see if an exam like this could help discern any underlying causes.

Parts Examined

As mentioned earlier—though easy enough just saying ‘pelvis’—there are many complex structures housed within this one portion of our bodies! Here’s just a few areas that may be explored during a pelvic MRI with contrast:


The reproductive organs are among the most commonly depicted structures in a pelvic MRI (no shocker there). These include the ovaries, uterus and cervix in women as well as the prostate gland within male bodies.

Bladder & Bowels

When it comes to urinary and digestive health—we really can’t forget about our bladder and bowels! A pelvic MRI examination can help expose any issues or abnormalities present within these organs that other tests may not catch—such as growths or inflammation.

Lymph Nodes

Our lymphatic system is responsible for filtering fluids throughout our body—including those found near our pelvis. If your doctor feels like you may have some swelling around certain glands (like those at your groin), they could order this test to get more information on what’s going on under the skin.

Potential Abnormalities That May Show Up

Now it’s time for the good stuff: what kind of things could an exam like this turn up? Here are just a few irregularities visualized by a Pelvic MRI with Contrast:


Pelvic tumors can grow in different parts of this area including the bladder, ovaries, uterus, prostate—and beyond. Because MRIs show very detailed cross-sectional images of many tissues—not only masses but also potential early cancerous changes—are often identified through imaging testing such as this.


Maybe you’ve never heard of adenomyosis before—but if you’re someone experiencing painful period cramps it might be worth discussing with your healthcare provider. This condition happens when endometrial tissue grows into muscles surrounding the uterus instead of just inside its lining (basically- NO BUENO). Symptoms mimic many qualities associated with uterine fibroids—which makes detection via testing particularly important!

Preparing For Your Exam

Got the okay from your doctor that a pelvic MRI with contrast is the way to go? Here are some quick tips to make sure you feel prepared on exam day.


Ideally, opt for loose-fitting and comfortable clothing the day of your appointment—particularly around your pelvis. Wearing items without metallic elements (like zippers) will save time removing articles off later on in prep as well!


Consult with medical staff ahead of time about what medications or pre-test instructions may be necessary so there are no surprises/hold-ups!

The Verdict…

Ultimately, getting a clear picture (literally) of what’s going on within our bodies truly can help provide peace of mind as well treatment options should anything irregular come up during testing. So whether someone told you it’s just gas pains or you’re feeling particularly run-down lately – talk with a healthcare provider today about if imaging exams like this one might be worth considering!1

Stay healthy, team pelvis!

  1. Disclaimer: We acknowledge here that healthcare factors vary person-to-person and any diagnostic recommendations/decisions should only be made following consultation(s) between an individual and their chosen physician(s). 

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