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What is a hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy is a procedure in which the doctor uses a hysteroscope to look at the inside of your uterus.  A hysteroscope is a thin tube with a tiny camera.  The uterus is the muscular organ at the top of the vagina.  Babies develop in the uterus, and menstrual blood comes from the uterus.

When is it used?

A hysteroscopy is used to diagnose or treat problems inside your uterus. Examples of such problems are abnormal bleeding or abnormal growth, such as fibroids or polyps. It may be done to help discover the cause of infertility or miscarriages. It can be used to get a sample of tissue from the uterus (a biopsy) to check for cancerous growth.

Additionally, you may have a hysteroscopy to look for a lost IUD.  An IUD is a small plastic or copper device that can be inserted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy.  Sometime the IUD moves out of its proper position inside the uterus.  It can become embedded in the uterine wall or surrounding tissue and become lost.

A Hysteroscopy should not be used if you are pregnant, have a pelvic infection, cancer of the uterus or cervix, or recent surgery on the uterus.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Your health care provider can make a more accurate diagnosis of your problem and possibly treat any problems that are found. In the case of a IUD retrieval, your doctor may be able to find the IUD and remove it, if necessary. The procedure is short with a quick and easy recovery.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

  • There are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your doctor.
  • A local or regional anesthetic may not numb the area quite enough and you may feel some minor discomfort. Also, in rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the drug used in this type of anesthesia. In most cases local or regional anesthesia is considered safer than general anesthesia
  • You may have infection or bleeding
  • Rarely, the uterus could be punctured and need surgery to repair it.
  • Rarely, the bowel or bladder may be injured.
  • You may have an allergic reaction to the fluid used during the procedure.

In general, the procedure poses little risk for most women. You should ask your doctor how these risks apply to you.

How do I prepare for a hysteroscopy?

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers heal more slowly after surgery.  They are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For this reason, if you are a smoker. You should quit 2 weeks before surgery. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. Also your body will heal much better if you do not smoke after surgery.

Follow any other instructions provided by your doctor.  If you are to have general anesthesia, eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before the procedure. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight or the morning before the procedure. Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.

Your doctor may put a laminaria (a small piece of seaweed that absorbs moisture) into the cervix the day before the hysteroscopy to help soften and dilate the cervix.

What happens after the procedure?

You may stay at your doctor’s office or the hospital about 1 or 2 hours. In rare cases you may stay at the hospital overnight. Plan for your care and recovery after the procedure, especially if you are to have general anesthesia. Allow for time to rest and find other people to help you with you day-to-day duties.

After the procedure you may:

  • Feel sleepy or groggy from the anesthetic
  • Have some cramps
  • Have trouble urinating the first few hours after the procedure
  • Have watery discharge for 3 or 4 weeks.

Ask your doctor what steps you should take and when you should come back for a checkup.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • You start to bleed a lot (like a menstrual period.)
  • You develop a fever over 100º F (37.8º C).
  • You have a lot of pain in the lower abdomen
  • You have a vaginal discharge with a bad odor.

Call the doctor during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its result.
  • You want to make another appointment.