Your doctor has ordered a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam of your pelvis (the area between your hip bones). The pelvic area has all the reproductive organs and the rectum, bladder and small intestines.

MRI is a long tube- like machine that is open on both ends. It uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of your pelvis. This will show your doctor what the inside of your pelvis looks like so they can create a treatment plan. The length of the exam is about 35 minutes.

Pelvic Prolapse

Organs in the pelvic area are held in place by tissues and muscles. When these tissues and muscles become weak, they are unable to support the pelvic organs in their normal position. This is called pelvic prolapse.

Causes of Pelvic Prolapse

  • Straining during childbirth

  • Age

  • Heavy lifting

  • Obesity

Symptoms of Pelvic Prolapse

  • Pelvic pain

  • Chronic constipation

  • Leaking urine

  • Leaking stool

Before Your MRI

  • Tell the staff in MRI if you have allergies to medicines.

  • If you have a fear of small spaces, tell your provider. They can get you medicine to help you relax. If you take this medicine, you will need to have someone drive you home.

  • Call the MRI nurses office at (608) 262-5276 if you had an endoscopy or a colonoscopy in the last 8 weeks.

Day of MRI

  • Do not eat for 4 hours before the MRI.

  • Avoid going to the bathroom for 1-2 hours before MRI. A full bladder will help us to get the best possible images.

  • Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your MRI.

  • If you take medicines, you may take them the day of the test.

  • If you wear any kind of medicine patch, remove it before the test. Bring a new patch that you can put on after the test.

  • If you wear a continuous glucose monitor or use an insulin pump, they
    will need to be removed before exam.

  • Plan to remove all metal items such as a watch, hairpins, bra, jewelry and coins. You will not bring anything into the MRI room. This includes your wallet, purse, cell phone and keys. The changing areas are private and there is a secure locker for your clothes and other items. You should leave valuable items at home.

  • You will be asked to change into a gown and put on disposable underwear. We will ask you questions about your health history. Please bring cards for any implants in your body.

  • Before the MRI, we will explain certain actions or movements we will want you to do during the MRI.

During the MRI

  • We will help you onto the table that will advance into the tube- like machine.

  • This exam requires lubricant injected into your rectum and vagina if you have one. The lubricant helps the doctor see your organs better.

  • If you have a vagina, you will lie on your back so lubricant gel can be inserted. You can do this yourself or we can help you. The gel is in a syringe with a smooth tapered barrel. Slide the smooth, applicator tip into your vagina. Push the plunger into the barrel with your pointer finger. Everyone’s body is different. Some people will only hold a small amount of gel and others will be able to hold all of it. We gave you the disposable underwear because we expect the gel to ooze during the exam.

  • We will ask you to lie on your right side. A small tube will be placed in your rectum. Through this tube we will insert lubricant gel. You will feel an increase in rectal pressure as the gel is being inserted. The small rectal tube will be removed but the gel will stay in place.

  • Staff will position you for the MRI. A small pillow will be placed under your lower back. Another pillow or bolster will be placed under your knees. A coil will lay over your hips. This coil works like an antenna to help us get pictures.

  • Staff will not be in the room during MRI. You will be able to see and hear staff through a speaker and window.

  • Staff will place a small squeeze ball in your hand. If, during the test there is anything you need, squeeze the ball and we will talk to you.

  • During the test you will hear loud knocking sounds from inside the MRI machine. You will have headphones to block out some of this noise. You will be able to listen to music.

  • The staff will ask you to do different actions and movements during the MRI. Some of these may be: “Imagine you are urinating and try to stop mid-stream. Squeeze your buttocks as if you were trying to prevent passing gas in public. Squeeze for 3-2-1 relax. This will be repeated 3-4 times. Or, “Imagine you are trying to poop.” We want you to bear down and push. Push- push- push relax. Our goal is for all the gel to come out of your bottom. We may have to ask you to do these 2 or 3 times.

  • Once the gel has come out of your bottom, we will repeat the pushing instructions one last time. Push- push- push- relax.

After the MRI

We will give you a washcloth to clean up. The gel may keep draining out after the MRI. We can give you more disposable underwear or a sanitary pad for your ride home.


Your MRI will be read by a radiologist and the results will be posted on MyChart. Your doctor will explain the results and discuss a treatment plan.

When to Call

If after your test you have any problems or concerns, please call your primary doctor.

Who to Call

If you have any other questions or concerns before your MRI, please call the nurses office at 608-262-5276.

If you need to reschedule this test, please call 608-263-9729 option 2.