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What is a hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy is a procedure that involves examining the inside of your uterus (womb). This is done by passing a thin telescope-like device, called a hysteroscope, that is fitted with a small camera through the neck of your womb (cervix). The consultant doing the procedure can then see whether there are any problems inside your uterus that may need further investigation or treatment.
It may be possible for a minor procedure to be done during your hysteroscopy, such as:
- Endometrial biopsy – taking a sample from the lining of the uterus. This can be done
through the hysteroscope or after inserting a speculum and passing a thin tube through
the cervix. You may experience severe period-like pain during this procedure, but the
pain should not last long.
- Polyp removal – a polyp inside the uterus is a skin tag that looks like a small grape,
sometimes on a stalk. Polyps are formed as a result of overgrowth of the lining of the
- Small fibroid removal – fibroids are knots in the muscle of the uterus that are noncancerous
(benign). They can sometimes bulgle like a polyp into the lining of your uterus
and your consultant may advise removal to help with your symptoms.
- Insertion of a hormone-releasing intrauterine device
Will it hurt?
For most women, a hysteroscopy is quick and safe, and is carried out with little pain for discomfort. It is often done without inserting a speculum, by using a thin telescope (called vaginoscopic OPH) as this is more comfortable. However, everyone’s experience of pain is different and some women will find the procedure very painful. If it is too painful for you, let your consultant know as the procedure can be stopped at any time if you wish.
Your consultant may offer a local anaesthetic injection into your cervix. This will require using a speculum to see your cervix and your consultant will discuss this with you. You may be offered nitrous oxide (or ‘gas and air’) to help with your pain. In this situation, you may be advised to wait a bit longer in the centre for recovery before you can drive.
If you feel anxious about the procedure, you should talk to your consultant before your appointment.