Hysteroscopy is a procedure used to look inside and examine the womb using a fine telescope. It can be used to sample the lining of the womb (biopsy), to remove polyps (fleshy growths of the lining of the womb), to remove fibroids (growths within the muscle of the womb )or to look for possible cancer.
Why do I need this procedure?
The most common reason is to investigate abnormal vaginal bleeding, including bleeding after the menopause, bleeding between periods, heavy periods, or bleeding after sex. Other reasons can include the removal of an intrauterine contraceptive device (a copper coil or Mirena hormonal intrauterine system) or fertility investigations.
Before arriving for your appointment
We would advise you to take simple pain relief such as paracetamol or mefenamic acid 1-2 hours before your appointment. This is to help reduce any crampy ‘period’ type pain that you may experience during the procedure.
How is a hysteroscopy carried out?
When you attend the hysteroscopy clinic the nurse will guide you to the procedure room and you will be asked to remove your lower clothes. She will be with you for the whole of the procedure. She will answer your questions and make you feel comfortable.
A thin hysteroscope (a telescope thinner than a pencil) is gently passed via the labia and the vagina is examined. It is then passed through the cervix to look at the endometrium (inner lining of the womb). A small amount of clean water passes through the telescope into the womb so that all of the lining can be seen clearly. The hysteroscope pictures can be seen by the doctor / specialist nurse on a TV screen that you can also see if you wish.
What should I wear?
It is advisable to wear comfortable clothing for hysteroscopy. You will be asked to remove all clothes from below the waist for the procedure.
It is advisable not to bring valuables.
Accompanying person :
It is helpful if you can be accompanied by someone who can drive you back home but this is not essential.
How long will the outpatient hysteroscopy take?
Most hysteroscopy procedures take less than 5 minutes. The whole appointment takes about 40 minutes.
When will I know the results?
Results can take up to two weeks to be obtained.
What if I could be pregnant?
If you think there is any possibility that you could be pregnant please discuss this with us. This is very important and you MUST not have a hysteroscopy if you are pregnant. We can do a pregnancy test but please note that a negative pregnancy test does not always exclude a very early pregnancy.
What if I am having a period on the day of my hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy is best done when you are not having your period. If you are on your period then findings of your hysteroscopy investigation may be difficult to interpret. Please discuss this with us as we may need to reschedule your appointment.
However, if you are bleeding after going through the change (menopause), it is very important to see you as soon as possible.
Do I have to stop the contraceptive pill?
No you should continue with your contraceptive pill but please do mention any medication to the doctor at your appointment.
Can I have sex before this procedure?
Sexual intercourse does not affect your hysteroscopy investigation. We do advise that if you use a spermicidal barrier method of contraception or lubricant jelly you should refrain from using them for 24 hours before your Hysteroscopy in case you need a smear test at your appointment.
What should I expect following outpatient hysteroscopy appointment?
Recovery: You can continue doing most normal activities directly after the hysteroscopy.
Driving / work: You may drive and even return to work on the same day as the test.
Painkillers: Some women experience period-like pains for a short length of time after the procedure. These are eased with normal painkillers (e.g. Ibuprofen or Paracetamol).
Bleeding: Some women experience a small amount of vaginal bleeding or discharge following the procedure. This may last up to two weeks. If this becomes heavy or offensive smelling, please contact us for further advice. We advise you to use a sanitary pad rather than a tampon for a week after your test.
Sex: We advise you to avoid sexual intercourse for about a week after the hysteroscopy.