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What is a Endometrial Biopsy?

A biopsy is a procedure by which a small sample of skin or tissue is removed and tested for abnormalities. During a Endometrial biopsy, a small piece of tissue from the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is removed for examination under a microscope. The doctor examining your sample will look for abnormalities and possibly signs of cancer.

Typically, women over the age of 35 will have endometrial biopsies. If you are pregnant this procedure will not be possible. But women who are having trouble conceiving may have an endometrial biopsy to see if these problems are linked to  her uterus.

Why is an Endometrial Biopsy performed?

A Endometrial biopsy may also be performed to diagnose the cause of bleeding you may be having – this may be heavy or irregular. An endometrial biopsy is also used to diagnose endometrial cancer. Your doctor can also use this test to check if your endometrial hormonal levels are unbalanced.

Symptoms that suggest you may need a endometrial biopsy include:

  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Heavy or very long menstrual periods
  • Thickened uterine lining, determined by an ultrasound
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Abnormal bleeding in women taking tamoxifen, a breast cancer medicine

What happens during the procedure?

A biopsy is a fairly quick procedure, taking only about 20 minutes to perform.

During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on the examination table with your feet resting in stirrups, much like you would during a smear.

Your doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina in order to clean your cervix. Following this, your doctor will numb the area either by spray, or by injection. Your doctor will then remove some skin from your cervix using a suction tool

The tissue removed during the biopsy is then checked for abnormalities. Your doctor will tell you if you need any follow-up tests.

Following your procedure

The local anesthetic will wear off after 2 hours after which you will be advised to take some paracetamol. Make sure you follow the instructions on the packet or ask you pharmacist. Following your procedure, you will receive your results, which may indicate some of the following:

  • Polyps or fibroids (small or large growths in your uterus)
  • An infection of your uterus, like endometritis
  • Endometrial cancer
  • A thyroid problem

What are the risks of an Endometrial Biopsy?

Like any procedure, a vulvar biopsy has some possible risks/side effects such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection