A hysteroscopy is a procedure used to look at the inside of a woman’s uterus with an endoscope. There are many reasons why a physician uses a hysteroscope, and it is effective for determining causes of many health related issues as well as those issues that can affect infertility.
A hysteroscope is a thin viewing tool that is put into the vagina and gently moved through the cervix into the uterus. There is a light and camera on the end of the hysteroscope so that the doctor can see the lining of the uterus on a screen. A small sample of tissue may be taken during a hysteroscopy and evaluated under a microscope.
A hysteroscopy may be performed to find the cause of severe cramping or abnormal bleeding during a woman’s menstrual cycle; to see if the shape, size, or scar tissue in the uterus is preventing pregnancy; to look at the fallopian tubes and determine if there is any blockage; to find and remove fibroids or polyps; to check for endometriosis or endrometrial cancer. Doctors are able to receive a great deal of information during a hysteroscopy, and are able to give patients many answers to previously unsolved problems.
It is best to have a hysteroscopy when a woman is not on her menstrual cycle for the clearest pictures through the hysteroscope. For many women, a sedative is given prior to the procedure to help a woman relax and not to move. It is also advised to take an over the counter pain reliever before the procedure as it can be uncomfortable for some women. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and afterwards patients will stay in a recovery room for 1 to 4 hours. After recovery patients are generally released to go home. It is important to have someone drive you home from your appointment as moderate cramping is often present after the procedure.
After your doctor has reviewed the findings of your test, s/he will talk to you about what was seen during the hysteroscopy. There are many specifics that your doctor will look at, and will discuss those with you and how they are affecting you. Many answers are given during a hysteroscopy that used to remain unknown to doctors just 15 years ago. Despite the discomfort that may be felt during the procedure, almost all women feel that a hysteroscopy is worth it to find answers and determine next steps with their doctors.
Posted on behalf of Sean Lambert M.D., North Pointe OB/GYN Associates