What is a hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of your uterus (womb) using a small telescope (hysteroscope). It is common for a biopsy (removing small pieces of the lining of your womb) to be performed at the same time.

A hysteroscopy is good for finding out the cause of abnormal bleeding from your womb, especially heavy periods and bleeding after menopause. It will help to find out if you have fibroids, polyps, endometrial cancer or an abnormally-shaped womb.

Are there any alternatives to a hysteroscopy?

It may be appropriate to try to find the cause of your symptoms using a scan and by performing a biopsy using a small tube placed across your cervix (neck of your womb).

Your gynaecologist may recommend a sono-ultrasound where an ultrasound device is placed in your vagina.

What does the procedure involve?

The procedure can be performed under local or general anaesthetic, or without any anaesthetic, and usually takes less than ten minutes.

Your gynaecologist will pass the hysteroscope through your vagina, across your cervix and into your womb (see figure 1). They will inflate your womb using gas (carbon dioxide) or a fluid, so they can have a clear view. They can use instruments to perform a biopsy or remove polyps and small fibroids.

What complications can happen?

  • Pain
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Making a hole in your womb with possible damage to a nearby structure
  • Failed procedure

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day. The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the hysteroscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

You should be able to return to normal activities the next day. You may get some cramps and mild bleeding.

Summary

A hysteroscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with your womb and, for some women, treating your symptoms.

Acknowledgements

Author: Mr Jeremy Hawe MBChB MRCOG and Dr Clare Myers MBBS FRANZCOG

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

 

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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