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In Office Hysteroscopy

Overview

An in office hysteroscopy allows your doctor to see inside of your uterus. This is done by inserting a camera attached to a hysteroscope into the cervix. The process makes it possible to see abnormalities and problems in the uterus and throughout the reproductive system.

How Do You Know You Need It?

A hysteroscopy helps doctors find abnormalities in the uterus that might be indicators of serious problems. These issues might include cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, thickening of the uterus lining, polyps, infertility problems, and irregular growths. Women experiencing problems such as heavy bleeding might undergo the procedure to help their doctors determine the cause of the problem. An in office hysteroscopy is often used prior to other procedures, such as an endometrial ablation, fibroid removal, or sterilization.

What Are The Benefits Of Hysteroscopy?

There are other procedures that can be used to conduct an assessment of the uterus, but the hysteroscopy is considered the most thorough. It allows for an actual visualization of the uterus, making it easier to spot and diagnose problems. It is a safe procedure that can be performed right in a doctor’s office. The procedure takes a short time and requires only local anesthetic, at most. The procedure is cheaper than procedures performed in a hospital setting because it is non-surgical and does not require general anesthetic.

Who Is Not A Candidate For Hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy is a safe procedure for most women, but there are circumstances in which you will not want to undergo the procedure:

  • Pregnancy: the procedure can put your baby at risk
  • Menstruation: it is difficult to see the lining of the uterus during your menstrual period
  • Infection: the procedure will be postponed if you are suffering from a cervical or vaginal infection

You will also want to tell your doctor about any medications or allergies prior to the procedure. This is especially true for those taking blood thinning medications. Avoid douching or using tampons for at least 24 hours prior to the procedure.

Fertility

Hysteroscopy is one of the best methods for diagnosing fertility problems. The procedure allows your doctor to view abnormalities in the uterus that might interfere with becoming pregnant or cause early termination of a pregnancy. Problems include scarring in the uterus, polyps or cysts, and block fallopian tubes, all of which can be visible during the procedure.

If you are experiencing fertility problems, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, or any other problems, speak with your doctor at Women’s Health Care of Georgia for more information.

Preparation and Procedure

A hysteroscopy is simple and women undergoing the procedure experience few side effects. In most cases, they are able to return to their usual routine immediately after the procedure is complete. A patient removes her clothing and wears a medical gown during the procedure. Once she has used the bathroom to empty her bladder, she lies on the exam table with her feet in the stirrups, just as she would a traditional pelvic exam. A speculum is inserted into the vagina, providing easy access to the cervix. The area is sterilized and local anesthesia is administered, if necessary.

A thin tube with a lens is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. The cervix might be numbed in advance to make the insertion more comfortable. The uterus is filled with a saline solution, expanding it so the walls are easily visible. In some cases, a biopsy is taken from the uterus during the procedure. After a complete assessment of the uterus is made, the saline solution is drained from the uterus and the tube and camera are removed.

The hysteroscopy takes about 30 minutes, but it might be longer if other procedures are performed in addition to the hysteroscopy.

Risks

Hysteroscopy is a very safe, minimally invasive procedure, but there are a few risks associated with it. In some cases, the body absorbs the fluid used to inflate the uterus, which leads to feelings of bloating and a temporary imbalance in sodium levels. If done improperly, a hysteroscopy can injure the cervix or uterus. There are rare cases of uterine, bladder, or bowel puncture, which need to be repaired through surgery. There are also risks associated with anesthesia, but the risks are greatly reduced with the use of only a local anesthetic.

Following the procedure, you might experience some minor side effects, including:

  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Mild belly pain (usually only when gas is used in place of the saline solution)

Patients with severe symptoms, such as heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge, problems urinating, fever, severe cramping, vomiting, or shortness of breath should contact their doctor immediately.

Fertility

Hysteroscopy is one of the best methods for diagnosing fertility problems. The procedure allows your doctor to view abnormalities in the uterus that might interfere with becoming pregnant or cause early termination of a pregnancy. Problems include scarring in the uterus, polyps or cysts, and block fallopian tubes, all of which can be visible during the procedure.

If you are experiencing fertility problems, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, or any other problems, speak with your doctor at Women’s Health Care of Georgia for more information.