A hysteroscopy is minimally invasive procedure used to examine the inside of your uterus. No incisions are made as the hysteroscope (an instrument with a light and a camera on the end of it) is passed through your vagina and cervix into your womb.
A hysteroscopy is performed as a day case procedure, meaning there is no need for an overnight stay in hospital. Some patients have the procedure with no anaesthetic, but local anaesthetic is sometimes used to numb your cervix to make the procedure more comfortable. If you are having treatment during the hysteroscopy, or you would prefer to be asleep, you may have a general anaesthetic.
During the procedure, you will be asked to lie down a special couch, where your legs will be held in supports. A speculum is used to open your vagina (the same instrument used in a smear test), then the hysteroscope is passed through into your uterus. The hysterscope sends images back to a monitor for your consultant to see. If necessary, biopsies can be taken from the inside of your womb.
The procedure usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.
If you are having no anaesthetic or local anaesthetic for the procedure, you won’t need to prepare for the procedure, although you consultant may recommend you stop taking certain medications beforehand.
If you’re having the procedure under general anaesthetic, you will need to fast beforehand. Your doctor or nurse will explain this beforehand. You will also need someone to take you home and stay with you for 24 hours after your procedure, too.
It is advisable to wear loose clothing to your procedure, and also to bring a panty liner or sanitary towel to wear afterwards as you may experience light bleeding or discharge.
After your procedure, you may feel ready to go back to work the next day, or you may feel it necessary to take a further day or so to recover. You may experience some cramping and discomfort in the area, but this can be managed with over the counter medication, and will pass quickly too. You may also experience light bleeding, but this will pass. Refrain from using tampons if you do experience any bleeding.
As with all procedures, there are some side effects and potential risks. Your doctor will discuss any risks with you beforehand.