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Endometrial biopsy

3-minute read

What is an endometrial biopsy?

An endometrial biopsy involves removing small samples of tissue from the lining (endometrium) of your uterus (womb).

An endometrial biopsy is usually performed for the following reasons:

  • Heavy periods or bleeding between periods.
  • Vaginal bleeding after the menopause.
  • Unexpected bleeding while taking hormone replacement therapy.
  • A pelvic ultrasound scan showing an abnormally thickened endometrium.
  • To assess your response to treatment if you have endometrial hyperplasia.

What are the benefits of an endometrial biopsy?

An endometrial biopsy is a good way of finding out if a problem in your endometrium is causing or contributing to your symptoms.

Sometimes they may not find a cause. This is useful information as they will be able to reassure you that there is unlikely to be a problem with your endometrium.

Are there any alternatives to an endometrial biopsy?

An endometrial biopsy can be performed under a general anaesthetic if the procedure is difficult or too uncomfortable.

What does the procedure involve?

An endometrial biopsy is usually performed without anaesthetic. However, if the procedure is difficult or you are uncomfortable, your healthcare professional may offer you a local anaesthetic or sedation. The procedure usually takes 8 to 10 minutes.

Your healthcare professional will use a speculum to view your cervix. They will then pass a narrow plastic tube (called an endometrial sampler) through your cervix into your womb.

Once the endometrial sampler is in your womb, your healthcare professional will take samples by pulling out the middle part of the sampler, which creates suction. They will gently rotate or move the sampler inside your uterus to collect tissue.

Your healthcare professional will remove the endometrial sampler and speculum.

What complications can happen?

Complications are rare with this procedure but if they happen, some can be serious.

  • pain
  • feeling or being sick
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
  • A small hole in your womb made by one of the instruments, with possible damage to a nearby organs or tissue
  • failed procedure

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home straight after the procedure.

You may have some vaginal bleeding that usually lasts for only 1 to 2 days.

You may get some cramps similar to a period. This usually lasts no more than 1 to 2 days.

Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

An endometrial biopsy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with the lining of your womb.

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Last reviewed: September 2022


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