06 Jan Hysteroscopy – Everything you need to know
What is it?
Hysteroscopy is a procedure by which a doctor can examine your uterus. This allows the doctor to diagnose, and if necessary, operate on any abnormality in the uterine cavity. It gets its name from the equipment used, which is a ‘hysteroscope’, a ‘stethoscope for gynaecologists’.
A hysteroscope is a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the vagina to examine the cervix and inside of the uterus. A camera captures the images and displays them on a screen for your doctor.
Although it may sound scary, hysteroscopy is a safe and minimally invasive surgical method.
Diagnostic hysteroscopy or ‘office hysteroscopy’ is a small, outpatient procedure that requires no anaesthesia and is cost effective. In more serious cases, operative hysteroscopy is required in which general anaesthesia is administered. Given its safety and efficiency, hysteroscopy has become a very common and recommended gynaecological practice.
What is it used for?
This procedure may be done to:
- Treat heavy or irregular periods
- Identify and remove abnormal growths like polyps or fibroids
- Investigate suspected endometrial cancer
- Diagnose thickening of the lining of the womb
- Treat thick uterine lining
- Investigate causes for infertility
- Prevent adhesion inside uterine lining
Apart from these there could be other instances that necessitate hysteroscopy as well. Don’t be afraid to clear all your doubts with the doctor before scheduling your appointment.
When to schedule hysteroscopy?
The ideal time to schedule a hysteroscopy is in the first week after your menstrual period, unless the doctor suggests otherwise. This is the time in which the doctor has the best view of the inside of your uterus.
How is hysteroscopy performed?
Prior to the procedure, you may be prescribed a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for anaesthesia if required. Hysteroscopy can take as little as 5 minutes or over an hour, depending on the situation.
The procedure itself takes place in the following order:
First, the cervix is dilated (widen) to allow the hysteroscope to be inserted. The hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. Carbon dioxide gas or a liquid solution is then introduced through the hysteroscope to expand the uterus and to clear away any blood or mucus. Then the doctor will examine the uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes and finally, if necessary, perform surgery by inserting small instruments through the hysteroscope.
What to expect after the procedure?
Post-hysteroscopy, if anaesthesia has been administered, you will need to stay for a few hours before going home. Typically, it does not require an overnight stay in the hospital but if your doctor is concerned about your reaction to anaesthesia, it may be required. After the procedure, you may have some cramping or slight vaginal bleeding for one to two days. The avoidance of sex for 7 to 10 days is advised. Apart from this there are no major post-operational precautions, allowing you to resume work and daily routine soon after.
For tips to help you prepare for surgery, click here.