A hysteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the inside of the womb (uterus).
Hysteroscopy is a narrow telescope with a light and camera at the end. Images are sent to a monitor to be able to see the cavity of the womb.
The hysteroscope is passed into the womb through the vagina and neck of the womb (cervix).
A hysteroscopy can be used to:
- Investigate problems – such as heavy periods, unusual vaginal bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, pelvic pain, repeated miscarriages or difficulty getting pregnant
- Diagnose conditions – such as fibroids and polyps
- Treat conditions – such as removing fibroids, polyps, displaced intrauterine devices (IUDs) and intrauterine adhesions (scar tissue inside the womb) which may cause absent periods and infertility.
Hysteroscopy can be carried out on an outpatient or day-case basis. It may not be necessary to use anaesthetic for the procedure, although local anaesthetic (where medication is used to numb your cervix) is sometimes used. General anaesthetic may be used if you’re having treatment during the procedure or you would prefer to be asleep while it’s carried out.
During a hysteroscopy:
- You lie on a couch with your legs held in supports and a sheet is used to cover your lower half
- An instrument called a speculum may be inserted into your vagina to hold it open (the same instrument used for a cervical screening test), although this isn’t always necessary
- The hysteroscope is passed into your womb and fluid is gently pumped inside to make it easier for your doctor to see
- The camera sends pictures to a monitor so your doctor can spot and/or treat any abnormalities
A hysteroscopy can take up to 30 minutes in total, although it may only last around 5-10 minutes if it’s just being done to diagnose a condition or investigate symptoms. You may experience some discomfort similar to period cramps while it’s carried out, but it shouldn’t be painful.