A hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to look inside the uterus with a small, telescope-like device. It is used to diagnose problems in the uterus such as abnormal bleeding or an abnormal growth, like fibroids or polyps. It can also be done in order to retrieve a sample of tissue in order to check for cancerous growth. Additionally, the hysteroscopy can be used to look for a lost IUD or for help removing an IUD.
HOW IS A HYSTEROSCOPY DONE?
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.
Hysteroscopy is an important way for doctors to help diagnose a potential problem with your uterus that they normally would not be able to do without looking inside. When undergoing the hysteroscopy, you will be under local, regional or general anesthesia so you cannot feel the procedure. The doctor will then dilate your cervix with a special instrument so he or she can then insert the hysteroscope into the uterus. He or she then is free to look around in the uterus and through the fallopian tubes to see if there are any problems. If the hysteroscopy also involves surgical work, tiny instruments can be inserted and maneuvered through the hysteroscope.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A HYSTEROSCOPY?
There are several different uses of a hysteroscopy-
Diagnostic Hysteroscopy: in this case, a hysteroscopy may be used to diagnose a problem that you may have or to confirm a test result. Diagnostic hysteroscopy procedures are very important because they allow your doctor to see things he or she may miss during a normal exterior check up, or to find things that were hidden or very small that are still causing problems.
Adhesions: If a woman is having problems with her uterus, it may be because adhesions and growths have formed along the wall. Adhesions (bands of scar tissue) may form and can effect fertility and menses.
Abnormal Growths: Also, growths called polyps and fibroids may form inside the uterus, which have the potential to become cancerous. Hysteroscopy procedures help identify all these problems so the appropriate actions may be taken.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding: A woman who has extremely heavy menstrual bleeding or post-menopausal bleeding may have a hysteroscopy performed on her to determine the root cause of the abnormal bleeding. In this case, a biopsy of the uterus may also be taken.
Displaced IUDs: If a woman is using a form of contraception called an intra-uterine device (IUD) which is placed into the uterus, it has the potential to become dislodged. A hysteroscopy can be used to locate and correct the placement of an IUD that has become displaced.
Sterilization: The hysteroscopy is used to place small implants into a woman’s fallopian tubes as a permanent form of birth control.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING RECOVERY?
You should be able to go home shortly after the procedure. If you had general anesthesia, you may need to wait until its effects have worn off.
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.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS OR COMPLICATIONS THAT COULD ARISE FROM THE PROCEDURE?
As with all procedures, there are a few risks associated with a hysteroscopy. Injury to the cervix or uterus could occur, but that is exceedingly rare and happens in less than 1% of all cases. Also, infection could spread, but this is also not likely. However, if you have severe abdominal pain and/or a fever, see your doctor immediately.
A hysteroscopy procedure can be a life saving thing; because of this procedure, your doctor has the ability to see almost anything that could be making you sick, and fixing them. Although hysteroscopy procedures have the stigma of being uncomfortable and intimidating, they are truthfully one of the safest procedures possible. If worried about pain or nerves, it is important to know all the facts about the procedure you are undergoing and what all will be going on. Talk to your doctor about any fears or concerns you may have about the procedure.