What is a hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is a way to look at the inside of the uterus and see the openings of the fallopian tubes. A hysteroscope is a thin telescope that is attached to a camera. Depending on your age, symptoms, and menopausal status, there are different reasons why you may benefit from hysteroscopy. Reasons women have hysteroscopy include:
- Irregular or abnormal bleeding
- Postmenopausal bleeding
- Retained intrauterine device
- Endometrial polyps
- Desire for permanent contraception (Essure microinsert)
What should I expect from the procedure?
You may be asked to place a medication in the vagina the night before your procedure. This medicine, called Cytotec or misoprostol, helps to soften the cervix. Your doctor may tell you to take a pain reliever or sedative before the procedure.
On the day of the procedure, the hysteroscope is passed through the vagina and into the opening of the uterus, called the cervix. Once the lens is inside the uterus, a small amount of salt water is used to help see the cavity and the openings to the tubes. Once inside the uterus, your doctor may be able to see the cause of abnormal bleeding. In some cases, your doctor may be able to perform minor procedures, including the removal of a polyp or the placement of permanent contraception, the Essure microinsert.
What happens after the hysteroscopy?
You will be able to go home shortly after the procedure. You should not place anything in your vagina for two weeks (no sexual intercourse, tampons or douching).
In some cases, the cervix needs to be dilated, or opened wider. This helps the doctor pass the hysteroscope easily. You may have mild cramping, bleeding, or discharge.
You may have a follow-up appointment with your doctor two weeks after the procedure. If you have any problems after the procedure but before your next appointment, you should call your doctor. Problems for which you should call include:
- Severe pain not relieved by the medications we recommend
- A temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Bleeding that is more than a period when you are not expecting your period
- A foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- If you suspect you might be pregnant
Are there any risks associated with a hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is safe. Complications such as bleeding, injury, or infection occur rarely, less than 1% of the time.