A hysteroscopy is a procedure that uses a small camera to look inside the uterus, or womb. It is used to diagnose or treat problems with the uterus. Knowing more about what happens during a hysteroscopy means that you can be better prepared.
Why is a hysteroscopy performed?
How to prepare for hysteroscopy
You should fast (not have anything to eat or drink) for at least 6 hours before your procedure. Your doctor will be able to advise you if you should have your regular medicines or not on the day of your procedure. You may be asked to take painkillers an hour before the procedure.
And you should ask questions, both before agreeing to have the surgery and before the surgery itself.
What happens during hysteroscopy?
You will be given a local anaesthetic, or in some cases a general anaesthetic. You will usually be asked to lie down and put your legs into stirrups. A thin tube with a camera on the end is put into your vagina and passed through the cervix into the uterus. A small tissue sample from the uterus may be taken for testing. Some conditions can be treated during the hysteroscopy procedure.
What to expect after a hysteroscopy
After a hysteroscopy, you will be monitored while any anaesthetic wears off. You might need some pain relief. You can usually go home the same day, although someone should drive you home.
For 24 hours after hysteroscopy, you should not:
- drive or operate heavy machinery
- do any heavy work or exercise
You should use sanitary pads rather than tampons for any bleeding after the procedure. Avoid sexual intercourse until 48 hours after any bleeding has stopped.
What can go wrong?
This is usually a very safe procedure. Most women have bleeding afterwards, similar to a period, for 2 to 7 days. There might be some discomfort, similar to period pain or cramps. If you have fever, severe pain, unusual vaginal discharge or heavy bleeding, you should see a doctor.
Visit The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website for more information about hysteroscopy.
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Last reviewed: November 2020