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A hysteroscopy is a way for your doctor to look at the lining of your
uterus. He or she uses a thin viewing tool called a
hysteroscope. The tip of the hysteroscope is put into your
vagina and gently moved through the
cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope has a light
and camera hooked to it so your doctor can see the lining (endometrium) on a video screen.
hysteroscopy may be done to find the cause of abnormal bleeding or bleeding
that occurs after a woman has passed
menopause. It also may be done to see if a problem in
your uterus is preventing you from becoming pregnant (infertility). A
hysteroscopy can be used to remove growths in the uterus, such as
Your doctor may take a small
sample of tissue (biopsy). The sample is looked at under
a microscope for problems. Another surgery, called a
laparoscopy, may also be done at the same time as a
hysteroscopy if infertility is a problem.
A hysteroscopy may be done to:
Tell your doctor if you:
It is best to have a hysteroscopy done when you are not
having your menstrual period. If there is a chance that you could become
pregnant, the hysteroscopy should be done before you are ovulating so your
doctor is sure you are not pregnant.
Do not douche, use tampons,
or use vaginal medicines for 24 hours before the hysteroscopy.
You may be
given a medicine (sedative) to relax you for the test, or
general, regional, or local anesthesia can be used.
Your doctor will discuss this with you.
If you are going to have
general anesthesia, you will need to stop eating and drinking before the test. Follow the instructions exactly
about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be canceled. If
your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, do so using only a sip of water.
Arrange to have someone drive
you home the day of the test in case you are given a sedative.
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about
any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will
be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance
of this test, fill out the
medical test information formmedical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
The hospital or surgery center may
send you instructions on how to get ready for your surgery, or a nurse may call
you with instructions before your surgery.
A hysteroscopy is usually done by your
gynecologist in the operating room of a hospital or
surgery center. Most women go home the same day. In some cases, the
hysteroscopy can be done in your doctor's office.
You may be given
medicine (anesthesia) to help you relax, to numb the area, or to help you sleep.
You will take off all of your
clothes and wear a gown for the test. You will empty your bladder before the
test. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet
raised and supported by footrests (stirrups).
Your doctor will insert a lubricated tool called a speculum into your vagina. The
speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so your doctor can see inside
the vagina and the cervix. Your vagina will be cleaned with a special
The hysteroscope will be placed at the entrance to your
vagina and gently moved through the cervix into your uterus. A gas or liquid
will be put through the hysteroscope into your uterus to help your doctor see
the lining clearly. Your doctor looks through the hysteroscope at a magnified
view of the lining of your uterus. Your doctor can also see the uterine
openings of the fallopian tubes. A video screen may be used during the
If a biopsy or other procedure is done, your doctor will use
small tools through the hysteroscope. A hysteroscopy takes about 30 minutes,
unless other procedures are being done.
If you are given a sedative or a local or
regional anesthesia, you may have some cramping during the test. If you have
general anesthesia, you may have a tickling, dry throat, slight hoarseness, or
a mild sore throat after the test; these symptoms may last several days. Throat
lozenges and warm saltwater gargles can help relieve the throat
Some women feel dizzy and sick to their stomachs. This
is called a
vasovagal reaction. This feeling will go away after a
You may need to avoid sexual intercourse, using
tampons, or playing sports for a while after hysteroscopy. Talk to your doctor
about when you can resume normal activities.
If a fluid is used during the test to help your
doctor see the uterine lining clearly, you may absorb some fluid and feel bloated. It
may also change the level of sodium in your blood. If gas is used, you have a
small risk for an air bubble (air embolism) in a blood vessel, though this is
A hysteroscopy can cause injury to the uterus or
cervix, an infection, or bleeding. In rare cases, the uterus, bladder, or bowel
can be punctured during the test, requiring surgical repair. If general
anesthesia is used, there is a small risk of problems from the
Right after the test, you will be
taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. Usually
you will stay in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you will be moved
to a hospital room or you will go home. In addition to any special instructions
from your doctor, your nurse will explain information to help you in your
recovery. You will likely go home with a sheet of care instructions and who to
call if you have any problems.
It is normal to have a small amount
of vaginal bleeding for a day or so after a hysteroscopy. You also may have
some mild belly pain if a gas was used during the test. This should go away in
24 hours. You can take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to relieve the
Follow any instructions your doctor gave you. Call your
doctor if you have:
hysteroscopy is a way for your doctor to look at the
lining of your
uterus. He or she uses a thin viewing tool called a
hysteroscope. Your doctor will talk to you about what he or she sees at the
time of the hysteroscopy.
The inside of the uterus looks normal in size and shape.
fibroids, or other growths are present.
Openings to the
fallopian tubes look normal.
The size or shape of the inside of the uterus does not
Scar tissue is present in the uterus.
Uterine polyps, fibroids, or other growths are
intrauterine device (IUD) is found and
The uterine openings to one or both fallopian tubes are
Reasons you may not be able to
have the hysteroscopy or why the results may not be helpful include:
If you are not sexually active, a hysteroscopy can be done
anytime. But it is best to have a hysteroscopy when you are not having your
If you are past
menopause, a hysteroscopy can be done anytime.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.
October 22, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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