HYSTEROSCOPY: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

The process of hysteroscopy is used to check inside your womb (uterus) for the possible problem and how such a problem can be treated at the same time. It uses a hysteroscope, a narrow tube-like telescope with a camera to look into your womb. The hysteroscope is inserted into your vagina, where it passes up through the cervix and finally into your womb.

Reasons for hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy helps to find out the causes of every symptom that women experience and different conditions of the womb can also be treated with this process. The reasons for hysteroscopy include the following:

  • Treatment of polyps and fibroids. Polyps are small growths of tissue while fibroids are non-cancerous growths of muscle.
  • To take out an intrauterine system (IUS) or coil that has moved out of place
  • Unusual bleeding from your vagina, which may include heavy periods, bleeding between periods, or bleeding after menopause.
  • Difficulty in conception.
  • Repeated miscarriages.
  • Treating scar tissue in the lining of your womb.

Deciding to have a hysteroscopy

You may need to understand the process and possible complications when you have a hysteroscopy. Feel free to discuss the issues you are experiencing with your doctor because your decision to have a hysteroscopy will be based on theirexpert opinion and your personal values and preferences.

Facts about hysteroscopy

  • You can get back to your daily activity after hysteroscopy ifan anaesthetic is not used.
  • Your condition can be treated with the same operation that is used to diagnose it.
  • You may experience some cramping during and after the procedure.
  • Youmayhave some complications such as bleeding during or after the operation, and there may also be a risk of damaged cervix or womb.
  • Some women may be frightened or stressed by the procedure without anaesthetic.

 

Preparing for a hysteroscopy

You cannot undergo hysteroscopy if you are pregnant. If you still have your regular monthly flow, you might need to use some contraception in preparation for your hysteroscopy. You can still undergo hysteroscopy if you are having your regular monthly flow unless the bleeding becomes too heavy.

You do not need any anaesthetic for this procedure; you can go on with your activity for the day almost immediately after having a hysteroscopy. Your doctor might ask you to take some painkiller such as ibuprofen about sixty minutes before your operation. Some women are always anxious and stressed when they hear anaesthetic will not be used; you should feel free to discuss your fears with the doctor.

Hysteroscopy procedures may need a general anaesthetic for more complicated operations such as fibroids treatment. As a result of this, you may not go home the same day because you will be asleep during the operation and hours after.  General anaesthetic can make you sick when used; you can reduce this risk if you do not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the procedure.

You should ask questions if you are not clear in any area and follow the advice from your anaesthetist or doctor.

Alternatives to a hysteroscopy

There are other procedures you can use to check for the cause of some symptoms in your womb. These include the following.

  • Ultrasound

An ultrasound is used to diagnose gynaecological conditions like fibroids. An ultrasound scan looks at your womb from the outside via the lower abdomen. A device can also be inserted into the vagina to check out the womb from the inside.An MRI scancan also be used instead of ultrasound to diagnose conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids.

  • Endometrial biopsy

An endometrial biopsy diagnoses gynaecological conditions by taking a sample of the lining of your womb. It uses a narrow tube inserted into your womb through the cervix and gently used to remove samples of the lining. Thesample taken is observed under a microscope. This procedure can be done at the same time as a hysteroscopy.

 

The procedure of hysteroscopy

A hysteroscopy does not take so much time; it only takes about 10 minutes or less. You will need to lay down with your legs being supported upright. A speculum,which is also an instrument used when testing for a cervical smear, can be put inside your vagina to clearly see your cervix.

An antiseptic solution will be used to clean your vagina and cervix before a hysteroscope will be passed into your womb. Your womb needs to get bigger so that the hysteroscope will move freely and for the doctor to see the womb clearly, this is achieved by putting a clean or sterile fluid or gas into the womb. There is a camera on the hysteroscopethat sends pictures of your womb to a screen where your doctor can observe it. These images will be carefully observed,and a biopsy or any other treatment can also be carried out if it is needed.

The procedure of hysteroscopy can be painful; you may feel pains like cramps as if you are having your regular period, make sure you tell your doctor. 

What happens after hysteroscopy?

In some complicated gynaecological conditions, an anaesthetic may be used. Make sure you have a good rest until the effects have passed. You can ask a close friend or family to stay with you and give you some assistance until the anaesthetic wears off.Anaestheticcan destabilise you sometimes; you might not be too coordinated or find it difficult to think clearly for some hours until it wears off. You are advised not to drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or sign any important document at this point.

You might feel some pains and discomfort when you are ready to go; your doctor can give you some pain reliever as the need might be. You should go with a sanitary pad in case of bleeding from your vagina. A follow-up appointment might be scheduled if your tissue sample was taken from your womb because it will take weeks before results will be out. 

Recovering from a hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy does not disturb your normal activity of the day; you can go on with your usual activities the same day if it was done with no anaesthetic. Recovery would take a long time if you had a general anaesthetic.

Having bleeding, pains or cramps just like you do when having your monthly flow is normal. Pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to ease the pain.

Possible side-effects of hysteroscopy

There are no side effects of hysteroscopy, but you may experience some temporary effects after the procedure.  You might experience cramping pains, vaginal bleeding like when you are on your period.Any pain or discomfort you experience will last for a few days, and sometimes it can last for up to two weeks if you had other treatments as well.

Possible complications of hysteroscopy

It is a fact that all medical procedures have one risk or the other, but these risks apply differently to people. Some women do not have any issue after having a hysteroscopy while others may experience symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, heavy bleeding, and signs of infection like fever or foul-smelling discharge from their vagina. Complications happen during or after your hysteroscopy which may include

  • Damage of the wall of uterus or cervix by the hysteroscope. This might require another operation to correct the damage.
  • Heavy bleeding during or after the procedure. A specialwater-filled balloon can be put inside your uterus by the doctor to stop bleeding if it becomes too serious.
  • An infection may result which can be corrected by taking antibiotics.

Hysteroscopy is a simple procedure you can use to diagnose gynaecological issues in your womb. It is not complicated, and it does not take much of your time. You can visit Women’s health care Partners if there is any gynaecological issue you want to diagnose so that our professionals can talk you through the processes.