What is hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is used to diagnose or treat problems of the uterus. A hysteroscope is a thin, lighted telescope-like device. It is inserted through your vagina into your uterus. The hysteroscope transmits the image of your uterus onto a screen. Other instruments are used along with the hysteroscope for treatment.
Why is hysteroscopy done?
One of the most common uses for hysteroscopy is to find the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. Abnormal bleeding can mean that a woman’s menstrual periods are heavier or longer than usual or occur less often or more often than normal. Bleeding between menstrual periods also is abnormal.
Hysteroscopy also is used in the following situations:
- Remove adhesions that may occur because of infection or from past surgery
- Diagnose the cause of repeated miscarriage when a woman has more than two miscarriages in a row
- Locate an intrauterine device
- Perform sterilization, in which the hysteroscope is used to place small implants into a woman’s fallopian tubes as a permanent form of birth control
How is hysteroscopy performed?
Before the procedure, you may be given a medication to help you relax, or local anesthesia may be used to block the pain.
Hysteroscopy can be done in a doctor’s office or at the hospital. It should be scheduled when you are not having your menstrual period. To make the procedure easier, your health care provider may dilate (open) your cervix before your hysteroscopy. You may be given medication that is inserted into the cervix, or special dilators may be used.
A speculum is first inserted into the vagina. The hysteroscope is then inserted and gently moved through the cervix into your uterus. Fluid will be put through the hysteroscope into your uterus to expand it. The fluid helps your healthcare provider see the lining more clearly. The amount of fluid used is carefully checked throughout the procedure. Your health care provider can view the lining of your uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes by looking through the hysteroscope. If a biopsy or other procedure is done, small instruments will be passed through the hysteroscope.
What should I expect during recovery?
You should be able to go home shortly after the procedure. It is normal to have some mild cramping or a little bloody discharge for a few days after the procedure. You may be given medication to help ease the pain. If you have a fever, chills, or heavy bleeding, call your health care provider right away.
What are the risks of hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is a safe procedure. However, there is a small risk of problems. The uterus or cervix can be punctured by the hysteroscope, bleeding may occur, or excess fluid may build up in your system. In rare cases, hysteroscopy can cause life-threatening problems.