What is hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is used to diagnose or treat problems of the uterus. A hysteroscope is a thin, lighted telescope-like device. It is inserted through your vagina into your uterus. The hysteroscope transmits the image of your uterus onto a screen. Other instruments are used along with the hysteroscope for treatment.
Why is hysteroscopy done?
One of the most common uses for hysteroscopy is to find the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. Abnormal bleeding can mean that a woman’s menstrual periods are heavier or longer than usual or occur less or more frequently than normal. Bleeding between menstrual periods also is abnormal (see FAQ095 Abnormal Uterine Bleeding ). In some cases, abnormal bleeding may be caused by benign (not cancer) growths in the uterus, such as fibroids or polyps.
Hysteroscopy also is used in the following situations:
- Remove adhesions that may occur because of infection or from past surgery
- Diagnose the cause of repeated miscarriage when a woman has more than two miscarriages in a row
- Locate an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Perform sterilization, in which the hysteroscope is used to place small implants into a woman’s fallopian tubes as a permanent form of birth control
How is hysteroscopy performed?
Before the procedure begins, you may be given a medication to help you relax, or a general or local anesthetic may be used to block the pain. If you have general anesthesia, you will not be awake during the procedure.
Hysteroscopy can be done in a health care professional’s office or at the hospital. It will be scheduled when you are not having your menstrual period. To make the procedure easier, your health care professional may dilate (open) your cervix before your hysteroscopy. You may be given medication that is inserted into the cervix, or special dilators may be used. A speculum is first inserted into the vagina. The hysteroscope is then inserted and gently moved through the cervix into your uterus. Carbon dioxide gas or a fluid, such as saline (salt water), will be put through the hysteroscope into your uterus to expand it. The gas or fluid helps your health care professional see the lining more clearly. The amount of fluid used is carefully checked throughout the procedure. Your health care professional can view the lining of your uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes by looking through the hysteroscope. If a biopsy or other procedure is done, small tools will be passed through the hysteroscope.
What should I expect during recovery?
You should be able to go home shortly after the procedure. If you had general anesthesia, you may need to wait until its effects have worn off.
It is normal to have some mild cramping or a little bloody discharge for a few days after the procedure. You may be given medication to help ease the pain. If you have a fever, chills, or heavy bleeding, call your health care professional right away.
What are the risks of hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is a very safe procedure. However, there is a small risk of problems. The uterus or cervix can be punctured by the hysteroscope, bleeding may occur, or excess fluid may build up in your system. In very rare cases, hysteroscopy can cause life-threatening problems.
Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC): Intrauterine Device (IUD) and Implant
What are long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods?
The intrauterine device (IUD) and the birth control implant are long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods. Both are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. They last for several years and are easy to use. Both methods are reversible—if you want to get pregnant or if you want to stop using them, you can have them removed at any time.
Who can use IUDs and implants?
LARC methods are a safe and effective birth control choice for women of all ages. Teenagers, women who have given birth, and women who have never given birth can use these methods. They also are good methods for women to use immediately after having a baby. (Read Using LARC Right After Childbirth to learn more.)
How effective are IUDs and implants?
The IUD and the implant are the most effective forms of reversible birth control available. During the first year of use, fewer than 1 in 100 women using an IUD or implant will get pregnant. Over time, LARC methods are 20 times more effective than birth control pills, the patch, or the ring.
Do IUDs and implants protect against STIs?
The IUD and the implant do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A male or female condom should be used to provide STI protection if you are at risk of getting an STI. You are at risk of getting an STI if you
- Have more than one sexual partner
- Have a partner who has or has had more than one sexual partner
- Have sex with someone who has an STI
- Have a history of STIs
- Use intravenous drugs (injected into a vein) or have a partner who uses intravenous drugs