A hysteroscopy is a procedure surgeons use to examine the uterus to investigate symptoms and diagnose or treat conditions. The procedure uses a hysteroscope – a long telescope with a light and camera at the end. Images are sent to a monitor so your specialist can see inside the womb. Read on to know why your San Diego director of fertility services, president, may recommend a hysteroscopy.
When would I need a hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is primarily used to diagnose and treat conditions that cause heavy menstrual bleeding, abnormal uterine bleeding, irregular spotting after periods, and bleeding after menopause. Your doctor may recommend hysteroscopy to diagnose or treat the following uterine problems.
- Adhesions, Uterine adhesions, also known as Asherman’s syndrome, are bands or scar tissue that can form in your uterus. They may result in menstrual flow changes and infertility. Your specialist can use hysteroscopy to locate the scar tissues and remove them.
- Polyps and fibroids. Hysteroscopy allows your provider to locate and remove these uterine structural abnormalities. The surgical removal of a polyp is called a hysteroscopy polypectomy, while the excision of a fibroid is called a hysterectomy myomectomy.
- Septums. Your specialist can use hysteroscopy to determine whether you have a malformation of the uterus present from birth (uterine septum)
What happens during a hysteroscopy?
On the day of the procedure, you will empty your bladder and change into a hospital gown. Your specialist may administer a sedative or anesthesia to help you relax and remain comfortable throughout the procedure. If the procedure involves treatment or you want to sleep, your doctor may administer general anesthesia. You will lie on an exam table with your legs in stirrups then your surgeon will:
- Insert a speculum into your vagina to hold it open. However, this is not always needed.
- Clean the vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution
- Insert the hysteroscope through your vagina and cervix and into your womb. You may experience cramping and discomfort as the hysteroscope passes through your cervix.
- Pump fluid through the hysteroscope into the uterus to gently expand it and clear blood or mucus. This makes it easier for your doctor to see your uterus lining and fallopian tubes.
- Examine your uterine cavity and fallopian tubes. The light from the hysteroscope enables your surgeon to get a clear view.
- Insert surgical instruments through the hysteroscope to remove any irregular abnormalities.
How painful is a hysteroscopy?
Usually, this varies considerably between women. Some feel no or mild pain during the procedure, but the pain can be intense for others. If you find the procedure too uncomfortable, inform your doctor or nurse; they can stop it anytime.
If you are worried about hysteroscopy, discuss what to expect with your doctor before the procedure and ask them about pain relief options.
Recovery after hysteroscopy
Most women resume normal activities the next day, but some may return to work the same day. If your surgeon used general anesthesia, you might need a few days off to rest. During recovery, you may experience cramping similar to period pain and some spotting for a few days. You want to avoid sex for at least a week until all bleeding has stopped.
If you have questions about hysteroscopy, consult your specialist at Gen 5 Fertility.