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What you need to know about a hysteroscopy:
A hysteroscopy is a procedure to find and treat problems in your uterus. A hysteroscopy may be done to find, and possibly treat, the cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding, problems getting pregnant, or miscarriage. It may also be done to insert or remove a device that prevents pregnancy.
How to prepare for a hysteroscopy:
- Your procedure may be done at your healthcare provider's office, an outpatient facility, or a hospital. Arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare. You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure.
- You may need to stop taking blood thinners or aspirin several days before your procedure. This will help decrease your risk for bleeding. Your provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may be told to take ibuprofen on the day of your procedure to control pain. You may be given an antibiotic to prevent infection. Tell healthcare providers if you have ever had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic.
- Your healthcare provider may put medicine on your cervix before your procedure. This will help open your cervix so the scope can be inserted into your uterus more easily. A scope is a small tube with a light and a camera on the end.
What will happen during a hysteroscopy:
- You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain. You may instead be given medicine to help you relax, and local or spinal anesthesia. With local or spinal anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing, but you should not feel any pain. Your healthcare provider will gently insert a device into your vagina. The device opens the walls of your vagina so your healthcare provider can see your cervix. Tools or medicine will be used to open your cervix.
- Your provider will insert the scope through your cervix and into your uterus. Your provider may inject air or fluid to help see inside your uterus more clearly. Tools inserted through the scope may be used to remove scar tissue, growths such as polyps or fibroids, or a sample of tissue. Tools may also be used to control bleeding.
- A vaginal pack or sanitary pad may be used to absorb the bleeding. A vaginal pack is a special gauze that is inserted into the vagina. It will be removed before you go home.
What will happen after a hysteroscopy:
Healthcare providers will monitor you until you are awake. You may be able to go home, or you may need to spend a night in the hospital. It is normal to have vaginal bleeding and cramps for 2 to 3 days after your procedure. Your bleeding may range from barely staining a pad to soaking a pad every 2 to 3 hours. You may see blood clots on the pad. Call your healthcare provider if you see blood clots that are larger than the size of a quarter.
Risks of a hysteroscopy:
You may get an infection or bleed more than expected. Scar tissue may form in your uterus. This may make it difficult to get pregnant. You may have an allergic reaction to the fluid injected into your uterus. The fluid may build up and cause problems in your lungs, heart, or brain. This may become life-threatening. The scope or tools may make a hole in your cervix, uterus, bowels, or bladder. This may require more surgery to fix and may become life-threatening.
Call 911 if:
- You have trouble breathing.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have heavy vaginal bleeding that fills 1 or more sanitary pads in 1 hour.
- You have severe pain or bloating in your abdomen.
- You feel lightheaded, weak, and confused.
- You see blood in your urine.
- You stop urinating or urinate less than usual.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever or chills.
- You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your vagina.
- You see blood clots on your sanitary pad that are larger than the size of a quarter.
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Estrogen helps heal the lining of your uterus.
- Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Do not have sex, use tampons, or douche for up to 6 weeks. These actions may cause an infection. Ask your healthcare provider if it is okay to take a tub bath or swim. Rest as needed. Do not drive, return to work, or exercise for 24 hours or as directed. You can return to most activities in 1 to 2 days.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.