A hysteroscopy is an examination of the inside of your womb (uterus) using a narrow, tube-like telescope called a hysteroscope. This instrument is very slim and is carefully passed through the vagina and cervix, and into the womb. It is common for a biopsy to be performed at the same time.
This procedure is good for assessing the cause of abnormal bleeding from the womb, especially heavy periods and bleeding after the menopause. It will help to check if you have fibroids, polyps, endometrial cancer or an abnormally-shaped womb.
Hysteroscopy is routinely done as an out-patient or day-case procedure and can be performed with or without local anaesthetic. The test usually takes about 15 minutes.
Your doctor may use a speculum to gently open the cervix (like having a smear test) and your vagina and cervix are cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Your doctor will then pass the hysteroscope through the cervix and into the womb. Gas or fluid is usually pumped into the womb to make it expand and the womb lining easier to see.
A camera lens at the end of the hysteroscope sends pictures from the inside of the womb to a video screen and your doctor may take a biopsy for examination if necessary. Afterwards, the hysteroscope is gently removed.
You should be able to go home the same day and your doctor will advise you of any treatment needed as a result of the hysteroscopy.
Most women are able to return to normal activities the day after the procedure although you may experience some period-like cramps and mild bleeding.
Hysteroscopy is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure however some complications can occur.
It is possible to develop pelvic infection afterwards, requiring treatment with antibiotics. Very rarely, the womb can be perforated or damaged during the hysteroscopy. This can lead to bleeding and infection, and may require further surgery or, in very rare cases, a hysterectomy.