What is a hysteroscopy?
If your provider has advised that you are in need of a hysteroscopy you may be wondering what it is and how it is performed.
A hysteroscopy is a procedure done using a hysteroscope which is a thin device inserted into the vagina. A hysteroscope acts like a lighted telescope and provides a clear picture of the inside of a patient’s uterus. The image of the inside of the uterus is transmitted to a screen which helps the provider identify or treat any potential problems that may exist.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists provides a helpful summary of how a hysteroscopy may be performed:
Before having a hysteroscopy you may be given a medication to help you relax. A general anesthesia or local anesthesia may be used to block the pain. If you have general anesthesia, you will not be awake during the procedure.
Hysteroscopy can be done in the Northwestern Women's Health Associates office. Your procedure will be just after your menstrual period. To make the procedure easier, your healthcare provider will probably dilate (open) your cervix before your hysteroscopy.
A speculum is first inserted into the vagina. The hysteroscope is then inserted and gently moved through the cervix into your uterus. A fluid, such as saline (salt water), will be put through the hysteroscope into your uterus to expand it. The fluid helps your health care 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 and polyps or fibroids inside the uterine cavity can be removed.
When should I schedule my hysteroscopy?
If you have been told by your obstetrics and gynecology provider that you need to have a hysteroscopy, then you need to schedule it in the week after you have finished your period. The timing is important because this is when the provider will get the best view of the inside of your uterus.
Why do I need a hysteroscopy?
The most common reason a provider suggests a hysteroscopy be provided is to determine the cause of heavy or abnormal uterine bleeding. Our group usually performs a special ultrasound a sonohystogram before a hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopy would be done to remove lesions found at this test. Other reasons to perform a hysteroscopy may include:
- Removing adhesions
- Diagnosing the reason for multiple miscarriages
- To perform a sterilization
- To locate an IUD
What to expect after a hysteroscopy?
You can expect to go home shortly after the hysteroscopy is performed depending the type of anesthesia that was used. If general anesthesia was used a brief period of observation will be required until the effects wear off.
Mild cramping and some bloody discharge are completely normal after a hysteroscopy. However if you experience any fever, chills or abnormally heavy bleeding it is important to contact your provider immediately.
If your Northwestern Women’s Health Associates provider has recommended you have a hysteroscopy, our team (link to our team page) is here to answer any and all questions you may have.