A hysteroscopy is an examination of the inside of your womb (uterus) using a narrow, tube-like telescope called a hysteroscope. This instrument is very slim (about 3 to 5mm in diameter). It’s carefully passed through the vagina and cervix and into the womb.
A hysteroscopy is useful for finding out what is causing symptoms, or as a check-up for certain gynaecological conditions and can also be used to deliver treatment.
A hysteroscopy procedure enables doctors to see your womb to investigate the potential cause for any gynaecological symptoms you might be experiencing.
These symptoms can include:
During the hysteroscopy procedure your doctor may take a biopsy (a small sample of tissue) for examination in a laboratory. It’s also possible to remove polyps (small lumps of tissue that may be found on the womb lining).
Hysteroscopy is routinely done as an out-patient or day-case procedure, with no overnight stay.
Hysteroscopy procedures can be performed with or without local anaesthesia, especially if no treatment is planned - this is called a diagnostic hysteroscopy. In some cases, if treatment is planned (called an operative hysteroscopy) it is done under general anaesthesia. This means you will be asleep during the procedure.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
After this discussion,we will confirm if you can be booked straight in for the procedure.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
You'll need to follow the instructions provided by the hospital in your treatment confirmation letter.
We understand that having any medical procedure can cause anxiety. Our experienced and dedicated medical staff will be there to reassure you.
Your doctor may use a speculum to gently open the cervix, similar to having a smear test. The vagina and cervix are cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Your doctor will then pass the hysteroscope through the cervix and into the womb. Gas or fluid is usually pumped into the womb to make it expand and the womb lining easier to see.
A camera lens at the end of the hysteroscope sends pictures from the inside of the womb to a video screen. Your doctor will look at these images and may take a biopsy for examination. Afterwards, the hysteroscope is gently removed. The test usually takes up to 20 minutes.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
You will almost certainly be able to go home a few hours after the procedure but you’ll need someone to collect you as you’ll be feeling drowsy.
Following the procedure, you may have slight period-like cramps, as well as “referred pain” in the tip of your shoulders – caused by the gas or fluid used to inflate the womb. This usually disappears within 48 hours. You may also have some vaginal bleeding for a few days. If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by your hospital.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Before you go home you will be given a telephone number for the hospital, in case you need to ask for any further advice. You may also be given a date for a follow-up appointment with your consultant to check on your progress and to discuss any further treatment that may be required.
Follow your surgeon’s advice about resuming your usual activities. You will probably be able to go back to work within a few days, but this depends on the exact treatment you have had. A full recovery can take up to seven days.
Sexual intercourse may be resumed as soon as you feel ready, or as advised by your surgeon. You should continue to use your usual form of contraception unless otherwise advised.
Even once you’ve left hospital, we’re still here for you.
Most women don't experience any problems after a hysteroscopy, however as with all medical treatments complications can occur. It’s possible to develop pelvic infection afterwards, requiring treatment with antibiotics.
Very rarely, the womb can be perforated or damaged during the hysteroscopy. This can lead to bleeding and infection, and may require further surgery or, in very rare cases, a hysterectomy. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you experience any of these symptoms please call us straight away:
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.