A Hysteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the inside of the uterus (womb). It is carried out using a hysteroscope, which is a narrow tube with a telescope at the end. Images are sent to a computer to give a close-up of the womb. A light on the end of the hysteroscope allows the gynaeocologist to see inside your womb. The pictures from the camera are sent to a television screen so that the gynaecologist can clearly see the inside of your womb.
A Hysteroscopy can be used either to diagnose a condition or to treat a condition. It can help your surgeon find out what is causing your symptoms, for example heavy periods.
It can also be used to check for womb conditions such as polyps (small growths of tissue in your womb lining) or some types of fibroids (non-cancerous growths of muscle in your womb). If you’re having problems getting pregnant, a hysteroscopy can be done to see if there are any problems within your womb.
A Hysteroscopy can be used to help diagnosis cases where a woman’s symptoms suggest that there may be a problem with the womb. Symptoms might include:
- heavy or irregular periods
- bleeding in between normal periods
- repeated miscarriage
A Hysteroscopy can also be used to remove abnormal growths from the womb, such as:
- fibroids – non-cancerous growths that can develop inside the womb and can sometimes cause symptoms such as pain and heavy periods
- polyps – small growths that develop on the lining of the womb and can cause irregular and heavy periods
- intrauterine adhesions – which are sections of scar tissue that can cause absent periods and infertility
A Hysteroscopy is a common procedure, usually carried out on an out-patient basis. This means that you do not have to stay the night in hospital.
Depending on the reason for your hysteroscopy, it can be performed under local anesthetic (where medication is used to numb a small area) or general anesthetic.
The surgeon will use a device called a speculum to open up the walls of the vagina, in the same way it is used during a smear test. The surgeon will then insert the hysteroscope through the cervix, into the womb.
If a biopsy or treatment, such as removal of polyps, is needed, other instruments will be passed into the womb.
A Hysteroscopy usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on what needs to be done.
Recovering from a Hysteroscopy
Most women feel they can return to normal activities, such as work, the day after the procedure. If you have a local anaesthetic, you will usually be able to go home after a short rest. You should feel well enough to walk, travel by bus or train – or to drive home, providing you haven’t been given a sedative.
You may experience some period-like cramps and mild bleeding. The bleeding is usually mild and should settle within seven days
Hysteroscopy Illustration key
2. Pelvic bone