If your reproductive endocrinolgosist suspects that you may have complications with your uterus, you may be want to have a hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed on many women with who are experiencing fertility problems.
Hysteroscopy allows your health care provider to look inside your uterus to make sure that it is healthy. Hysteroscopy is often useful in pinpointing possible causes of infertility.
What is Hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is medical procedure that helps health care providers view the uterine cavity. A narrow instrument is placed into the vagina, through the cervix, and up into the uterus. This instrument, called a hysteroscope, acts like a telescope, enabling your health care provider to see your uterus in closeup.
There are two types of hysteroscopy. Diagnostic hysteroscopy is used to detect any problems inside a woman's uterus. Operative hysteroscopy is used to help perform surgical procedures.
What Can Hysteroscopy Detect?
Diagnostic hysteroscopy can be used to detect a number of uterine abnormalities that may be contributing to infertility. These abnormalities include:
- uterine fibroids
- uterine adhesions
- uterine cysts
- septate uterus
Uterine Abnormalities and Infertility
Most uterine abnormalities don't effect conception. In fact, a large percentage of women with uterine abnormalities can become pregnant. Unfortunately, uterine abnormalities can sometimes make it difficult to carry a pregnancy to term.
A small or mishaped uterus can increase your chances of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and stillbirth.
Who Needs a Hysteroscopy?
Diagnostic hysteroscopy is not usually offered to all women undergoing fertility treatments.
It is useful for women experiencing:
- unexplained infertility
- abnormal or irregular bleeding
- uterine or pelvic pain
- frequent miscarriage
The Hysteroscopy Procedure
Hysteroscopy is generally performed in hospital as an outpatient procedure, however, some clinics can perform hysterscopy in their offices. The actual procedure doesn't take very long at all, though may wish to remain lying down for a while after the procedure.
- When you arrive for hysteroscopy, you will be asked to sit in a special chair that can tilt back. Your health care provider will wash your vagina and cervix with a special solution.
- Local anesthetic is injected into your cervix. This numbs the area so that you don't experience discomfort during the procedure.
- Your cervix is slightly and the hysteroscope is placed inside.
- Carbon dioxide or water is pumped inside your uterus. This helps the uterus to expand and keep its shape during the procedure.
- Using a light attached to the hysteroscope, your health care provider examines your uterus for any abnormalities.
Complications of Hysteroscopy
There are some complications associated with hysteroscopy.
- vaginal bleeding
- uterine infection
- perforated uterus
- allergic reactions to anesthetic
After Diagnostic Hysteroscopy
If your health care provider does notice any uterine abnormalities, it may be possible to treat them. Operative hysteroscopy can often remove uterine cysts or fibroids, or separate a septate uterus.
Speak with your reproductive endocrinologist about treatment options that may be right for you.