A hysteroscopy procedure can be an unsettling idea for woman – the idea that endoscopy of the uterine cavity is to be performed by the insertion of an endoscope through the vagina and cervix.
However this is a very useful diagnostic tool for a number of different problems and can give valuable and accurate insight, quite literally, into the underlying reason for many troublesome symptoms.
The hysteroscopy procedure can help to indentify the reason for infertility, it can confirm or negate the presence of endometrial polyps, intra uterine adhesions (Asherman’s Syndrome), and so on.
Hysteroscopy can also be used for myomectomy of uterine fibroids, to evacuate the contents of the uterus after a partial abortion, to remove an embedded IUD, and even to remove part of the placenta that was not properly ejected after childbirth.
Reasons for unexplained bleeding, of congenital uterine malformations can also come to light with the help of hysteroscopy.
How the hysteroscopy procedure performed
The procedure is performed at a hospital or other surgical center or clinic. Local anesthetic is generally given by injection or local application, although in some cases general anesthetic may also be given in which case the woman will be asked to stay longer for observation.
After the anesthetic is administered, the cervix is dilated with surgical instruments of prostaglandin medications. Some of the more modern techniques and hysteroscopes do not require dilation and in such cases anesthesia may not be administered.
After the insertion of the hysteroscope, gas or fluid is pumped into the uterus to expand it and facilitate clearer viewing of the inside. Sometimes if any abnormality is found as expected, the surgical procedure may be performed at the same time. Typically procedures such as endometrial polypectomy, endometrial ablation, submucosal fibroid resection, laser treatment and so on could be performed as required along with the hysteroscopy.
What to expect with hysteroscopy procedure
When there is a reproductive tract infection present, the procedure is generally not performed. Also the timing of the procedure is generally chosen to coincide with a time of the woman’s cycle when the endometrial lining is at its thinnest, which is right after the completion of her monthly period. Pregnant women cannot undergo this procedure and it is also not recommended for women who have cancerous tumors in the cervix or the uterus.
The duration of the procedure will depend upon the reasons for it and the extent of problems that a woman may face. In most cases however the time taken for recovery is short and women can go home the same day. If however general anesthesia was administered, recovery may take longer.
Mild cramping and some amount of vaginal bleeding are usually the only after effects of this procedure and complications are rare, making this a safe and effective diagnostic tool. In some rare cases however there could be complications such as infection, severe pain, heavy bleeding and fever as a result of the hysteroscopy procedure. There could also be ill effects of the general anesthetic if administered.