Hysteroscopy is a diagnostic test used to examine the uterine lining for intrauterine abnormalities. A narrow telescope (hysteroscope), inserted into the vagina, passes through the cervix and enters the uterus.
About the Process
The length of the procedure might range from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the patient's condition. Hysteroscopy is an outpatient procedure (the patient doesn't require an overnight hospital stay). This is because the process doesn't involve any cuts. It involves the following steps:
- During the procedure, the patient may be awake or under general anaesthesia. If awake, the doctor will administer medications to help the patient relax.
- To spread open the vaginal walls, the doctor will put a speculum into the vagina.
- The hysteroscope is inserted via the cervix into the uterus through the vagina.
- A liquid or gas is injected through the hysteroscope to help expand the uterus, helping the doctor to examine it clearly.
- Images captured by the hysteroscope's camera are shown on a monitor for the doctor to examine.
- If a procedure like the removal of a fibroid is necessary, the doctor may insert tools through the hysteroscope.
Why is Hysteroscopy Performed?
Hysteroscopy is performed to:
- Diagnose the cause of infertility or multiple miscarriages.
- Examine or remove uterine scarring, polyps, or fibroids (non-cancerous growth in the uterine lining).
- Diagnose the cause of pelvic pain.
- Examine bleeding after menopause, abnormal bleeding or spotting, or heavy periods.
- Insert a new IUD (intrauterine device) or find and replace a displaced one.
- Remove a scar tissue
How to Prepare for Hysteroscopy?
There are certain things that need to be done before a hysteroscopy.
- The doctor may perform blood tests to analyse the woman's physical health.
- If the doctor will use general anaesthesia, the woman may need to fast (not eat or drink) for 6–12 hours before the procedure.
- It is advisable to wear loose clothes on the day of the test.
- The woman should inform the doctor about her menstrual dates and whether she is taking any anticoagulants.
- Medication may be given to reduce the size of fibroids if the process is done to remove them.
What to Expect from Hysteroscopy?
There are some general postoperative effects of hysteroscopy.
- The patient may experience some fatigue due to blood loss during the procedure.
- If the patient had a general anaesthetic, someone should stay with her for at least 24 hours until the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off.
- While recovering, one may experience cramping, spotting, or bleeding.
- The doctors advise avoiding douching, having intercourse, or inserting a tampon until 2 weeks after the procedure.
Risks Involved in Hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy possesses some complications, which may vary between different individuals.
- Damage to the cervix or womb that can be treated.
- Some women have problems from anaesthesia like nausea, vomiting, and a sore throat.
- Uterus infection could occur, resulting in heavy bleeding and foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
- Uterine perforation (scarring on the uterine lining)
- The gas or liquid used in the process could cause pain in the upper belly.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (infection of women's reproductive system)
Possible Results of the Test
The abnormal results of hysteroscopy may consist of any of the following conditions:
- The openings of the fallopian tubes are closed.
- Abnormal size of the uterus.
- Presence of polyps, fibroids, or abnormal growths.
- The presence of scar tissue.
When to See a Doctor?
It is always advisable to visit a doctor if the woman faces any of the following: periods that are longer or heavier than usual or spotting between periods. Other symptoms may include severe abdominal pain, bleeding with a high fever, the inability to urinate, and shortness of breath.
The average cost of hysteroscopy in India ranges from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 53,000. The cost depends on the test and whether it is done for diagnostic or operative purposes.
Diagnostic hysteroscopy in menstruating women with normal periods is usually done right after their menstruation, during the follicular phase of the cycle. Hysteroscopy cannot be performed on pregnant women.
One may resume normal physical activities like short walks after the surgery. However, core workouts and intensive exercises should be avoided for 4 weeks. Activities such as deep twisting and backbends should be avoided.
In some rare cases, ovarian cysts can occur after hysteroscopy. This is because the gas used in the procedure could create pneumoperitoneum, causing a rupture of blood vessels in the ovary.
The average recovery time is 2–5 days. The low recovery time is because no incisions are made during the surgery. Patients may need post-operative medications to reduce the mild discomfort. Every woman's body is different, and the cause of any abdominal pain may vary. However, it is always a good idea to consult a doctor to get the exact reason for any discomfort. Request an appointment at: Apollo Fertility, Navi Mumbai, Mumbai Call 1860 500 4424 to book an appointment.