A hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows for a visual examination of the cervix and uterus. In this procedure, your doctor will insert a hysteroscope, a light, thin, flexible tube through the vagina. With the help of the hysteroscope, your doctor is able to see and assess issues within the cervix and uterus clearly.
During a hysteroscopy, tissue samples may be taken, polyps or fibroid tumors may be removed, or cautery (destruction of tissue by electric current, freezing, heat, or chemicals) may be performed to stop internal bleeding.
You might be wondering if a hysteroscopy is something you’ll need in your lifetime. This is a fairly standard procedure, and it is often performed on women who experience any of the following:
During the procedure, your doctor will evaluate your uterine lining, looking for uterine adhesions, polyps, fibroids, or possibly displaced IUDs. This procedure can also be used to insert a form of permanent birth control into the fallopian tubes.
In some instances, the procedure may be deemed an “operative” hysteroscopy, and wherein there is removal of endometrial lining, adhesions (scars), growths, or fibroids.
A hysteroscopy cannot be performed on women during their menstrual period or on women who are pregnant.
As with any internal procedure, certain risks are to be taken into account. The risks associated with hysteroscopy include, but are not limited to:
It is normal to experience some cramping or bleeding after the procedure. Depending on your specific medical condition, there may be other risks, which your doctor will go over with you.
Before the hysteroscopy, your doctor will go over the procedure with you in detail and ask if you have questions. This is the time to notify your doctor of all of the medications you are on, any allergies, and if you think you may be pregnant.
It is common for women to be given a sedative before the procedure, or, in operative cases, anesthesia may be administered. Your doctors may also insert medication to dilate the cervix, which makes the procedure easier to perform.
You will be asked to empty your bladder before the procedure begins. Once you are on the operating table with your feet in stirrups, an IV (intravenous) may be inserted into your arm or hand to administer the sedative. Your doctor will use an antiseptic solution to clean the vagina, and the cervix may be dilated at this time.
The hysteroscope is inserted, and the images are displayed on a screen for doctors to examine.
If necessary (for removal of tissue, polyp, etc.), a tool or instrument may be inserted through the hysteroscope. Depending on your specific medical condition, other steps may be taken. In most cases, this procedure takes between 5-30 minutes.
Again, the recovery process will vary depending on your specific condition and treatment.
If there was a general anesthetic administered, you would need to wait for the effects to wear off, and doctors will monitor your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing until they feel you are safe to go. This procedure is most often performed in an outpatient facility, like a hospital.
It is normal to experience light cramping, bleeding, or flatulence for the two days following the procedure, and most women feel able to go about their normal daily activities 1-2 days after a hysteroscopy. Most patients are advised to avoid sex for at least one week after the procedure or until the bleeding stops.
Your doctor may advise you differently, depending on your medical conditions.
Women for Women is a team of board-certified OBGYN specialists that specialize in procedures such as these. Visit our office in Lake Success or our website to make an appointment or to ask any questions you may have regarding a hysteroscopy!