So your doctor has advised that you should undergo a hysteroscopy operation. Here we explain more about this very common procedure so that you can better understand what will happen, what the results will show and how quickly you can expect to recover.

Hysteroscopy: A minor operation to examine the inside of your uterus

What is a hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy is a procedure which involves placing a very thin telescope inside the uterus (womb) so that the inside of the uterus can be examined in detail. It can be performed as a diagnostic procedure, or to perform surgery to remove polyps or fibroids.

What happens during the hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy can be performed under local anaesthetic in the outpatient department or under a general anaesthetic. A very fine illuminated tube called a hysteroscope is passed through the cervix and into the uterus. The inside of the uterus is expanded with sterile water to allow a good view of the lining of the womb (the endometrium). The hysteroscope is connected to a camera which transmits images to a computer screen.

Why do I need to have a hysteroscopy?

There are many reasons why you may be advised to have a hysteroscopy. These include:

  • to diagnose and manage heavy or irregular periods
  • to understand the reason for bleeding after the menopause
  • if there is a thickening of the lining of the the womb on ultrasound scan
  • to take a sample or biopsy from the lining of the womb
  • to remove polyps or fibroids
  • to perform an endometrial ablation or resection
  • to remove a coil with missing threads
  • to help with inserting a mirena coil

What will the examination show?

During your procedure, the medical team will receive detailed images onto a screen. The findings will be discussed with you at the time, and if any biopsies are taken, the results will be available at your next appointment.

What can I expect after a hysteroscopy?

If you have had a hysteroscopy under local anaesthetic, you should be able to go home soon after the procedure. If you have had a general anaesthetic, you may need to stay in hospital for a few hours before you go home. You may experience some period-like cramping during the procedure, but this normal settles quickly. You may feel some discomfort for a few hours afterwards and taking painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen will be very effective. You will normally have some mild spotting for between 7-10 days after the procedure.