A hysteroscopy is an investigation that can be used to see what is happening inside your womb. The hysteroscopy procedure can also be used to treat certain conditions.
If you have symptoms such as pelvic pain or heavy periods , your doctor might want to conduct a hysteroscopy to find out the reason why. The technique is particularly useful if your doctor thinks the cause might be a condition such as fibroids or polyps in your uterus . The hysteroscopy procedure can also be used to look for possible causes of infertility if you are having trouble conceiving. As well as using the procedure to investigate symptoms or confirm a suspected diagnosis, it is also possible to treat some problems during a hysteroscopy. Growths inside the uterus can be removed during the investigation.
The hysteroscopy procedure will be carried out in hospital, but you won't usually need to stay overnight. The operation can take up to about half an hour, but it may be over in just five or ten minutes. The procedure is sometimes carried out without an anaesthetic, but sometimes a local or even a general anaesthetic is required.
You will be asked to remove the lower half of your clothing and to lie down. Your feet will usually be placed in supports and a sheet will be used to cover you. The doctor may need to insert a speculum, just like during a smear test. The hysteroscope will then be inserted through your vagina and into your womb. The hysteroscope is a long tube with a light and camera on the end of it. Fluid can be gently pumped in through the tube to inflate your uterus. This will make it easier for the camera to see inside. High definition pictures from the camera will be displayed on a screen so that the doctor can explore the inside of your womb. Sometimes an instrument on the end of the hysteroscope will be used to take a tissue sample or to remove a growth such as a polyp.
After the hysteroscopy procedure, you may feel some slight cramps, a bit like period pain. You may also notice a small amount of bleeding. It is usually best to take the rest of the day off, but you may need a little longer to recover if you have had a general anaesthetic. It is also best to avoid having sex for about a week in order to reduce the risk of infection. The procedure is very safe, but there is a small risk of complications such as infection,heavy bleeding, or accidental damage to the cervix or womb
The results of the hysteroscopy should help your doctor to understand what is causing your symptoms. Sometimes additional tests may need to be carried out, such as a lab investigation of any samples that were taken during the procedure. If any treatment was conducted during the hysteroscopy, you should notice an improvement in your symptoms afterwards. Removing growths such as fibroids is often the most effective form of treatment.