Hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy can be a procedure that is to diagnose and treat the causes of abnormal bleeding.

Hysteroscopy

In simple words, hysteroscopy is a procedure that is used to examine the inside of the uterus and get to know more about the reproductive health of women. It is a recommended procedure if one has heavy menstrual periods and severe cramping. Hysteroscopy gives an up-close look at the cervix and uterus and helps doctors to learn about the problems in those regions.

Hysteroscopy is carried out with the help of a hysteroscope which consists of a narrow telescope with a light and camera at the end. In this procedure, the hysteroscope is passed into the womb through the vagina and cervix, which means that no cuts need to be made on the skin. It connects to a video screen that the doctor or specialist nurse uses to see inside the womb.

When is it done?

A hysteroscopy can be used in:

  • Investigating symptoms or problems - such as heavy periods, unusual vaginal bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, pelvic pain, repeated miscarriages or difficulty getting pregnant, abnormal Pap test results, more than one miscarriage, and for biopsy of the lining of uterus
  • Diagnosing conditions - such as fibroids and polyps (non-cancerous growths in the womb), uterine malformations and scarring of uterus

  • Treating conditions and problems - such as removing fibroids, polyps, displaced intrauterine devices (IUDs) and intrauterine adhesions (scar tissue that causes absent periods and reduced fertility)

How is it done?

Prior to the procedure, the doctor may prescribe a sedative to help in relaxation. A general anaesthetic may be used if the patient prefers to be asleep during the procedure. Otherwise, local anaesthesia can be used to numb the cervix. During the procedure, the doctor dilates the cervix to allow the hysteroscope to be inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. Carbon dioxide gas or a liquid solution is then inserted into the uterus, through the hysteroscope, to expand it and to clear away any blood or mucus. Next, a light shone through the hysteroscope allows the doctor to see the uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes into the uterine cavity. If surgery is needed to be performed, small instruments are inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope in order that the treatment may be carried out. The time it takes to perform hysteroscopy can range from less than five minutes to more than an hour. The length of the procedure depends on whether it is diagnostic or operative and whether an additional procedure, such as laparoscopy, is done at the same time.

Hysteroscopy is a relatively safe procedure. A few complications that could occur include risks associated with anaesthesia, infection, heavy bleeding, injury to the cervix, uterus, bowel or bladder, and intrauterine scarring. One should be able to go home shortly after the procedure, and the healthcare provider may share the results of the investigation on the same day itself. If one was administered general anaesthesia, one might need to wait until its effects have worn off before going home. It is normal to have some mild cramping or a little bloody discharge for a few days after the procedure and medication can be taken to help ease the pain.