A woman’s reproductive system is complex and prone to many issues. Infertility, fibroids, heavy bleeding, and cramping are among the many problems women experience daily. When you suffer from these or other reproductive issues, your doctor may recommend Hysteroscopy. This is a procedure carried out to evaluate your endometrial cavity and establish any underlying problems that are the reason for the symptoms you are experiencing.
Investing in your health is one of the best investments one can make. One of the requirements for women is to find the best gynecology services to care for their reproductive health. When you experience any reproductive health issues in LA, visit All Women’s Care. Here, you will get a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.
Hysteroscopy is a kind of minimally invasive surgery. Your doctor inserts a tiny device known as the hysteroscope through your cervix, reaching the uterus. This device has a camera that allows the doctor to see inside the womb. The images get transmitted to a video monitor, and the doctor checks for abnormality in your uterine cavity. Also, the doctor examines the shape of the uterus and its lining for any issues. During the process, the doctor is keen to establish if intrauterine pathology signs are present. These are what are commonly referred to as polyps or fibroids. Additionally, the surgeon also tries to look into the fallopian tube openings.
Hysteroscopy is typically performed under general anesthesia, but sometimes local anesthesia is used, limiting the diagnosis. Doctors use this procedure for diagnosing or performing a surgical procedure. Several situations may have your doctor recommend the method. These situations include:
- Your doctor may need to confirm results from another test visually.
- When assistance is needed in the removing of polyps or fibroids
- When your doctor has recommended a laparoscopic procedure, Hysteroscopy can be used at the same time.
- Before a curettage and dilation procedure
- The doctor wants to check for abnormalities and malformations in the uterus.
The Process of Hysteroscopy
Not every doctor is qualified to perform this procedure. Your doctor may recommend you see a specialist in Hysteroscopy when:
- The results from your pap smear test are abnormal
- You continue to bleed even after attaining menopause
- If he or she notices scarring in the uterus, polyps or fibroids
- You have challenges in conceiving or have had a miscarriage at lease more than once
- Your doctor requires further tests that involve having a tissue sample from your uterus lining
- Your type of birth control is a permanent sterilization procedure or
- When your IUD leaves its original place.
Your primary doctor can ask you to see a hysteroscopy specialist. The procedure takes place in a similar position as that of a regular gynecological exam. You place the feet up the stirrups on the examination table for the process to begin.
Expectations during the procedure:
- Using a speculum, the specialist will spread your cervix. This is similar to what you do in a regular gynecological exam.
- Next, the Hysteroscopy will be inserted through the virginal opening. It is then moved up the cervix then the uterus.
- Next, carbon dioxide or liquid gas is inserted gently into the uterus via the hysteroscopy device, clearing the surface and helping in widening it more.
- The hysteroscopy device typically has a light at the end that allows the doctor to see the fallopian tubes and uterus. This assists in identifying any underlying issues or in carrying out a surgical procedure if necessary.
If the specialized doctor recommended the procedure for surgical reasons, then the devices to perform the surgery are inserted via the hysteroscope, and surgery is performed. When no surgery is required, the procedure is painless, although one may experience cramping in the process. Before the process, your doctor may recommend you take some sedative to help you relax.
If the purpose of the Hysteroscopy is to carry out a surgical procedure, anesthesia either local or general is administered. This procedure, however, is short, with the time taken ranging from five to thirty minutes. The duration taken is determined by the procedure performed.
If the procedure is for diagnostic reasons only, the doctor can perform Hysteroscopy in their office with local anesthesia. When there is a need to remove small polyps, the doctor may recommend doing it from their office. However, if the procedure is combined with another more complicated surgical procedure, a hospital is necessary. The anesthesia used in this case also depends on the surgery needed.
Recovery After the Procedure
The reason for the procedure determines the recovery period. However, several things are generally standard following the hysteroscopy procedure. Some of the things a patient may experience are:
- Bleeding slightly or spotting that lasts for a day or two
- Pain or discomfort in your shoulder if carbon dioxide was used in the procedure
- Mild nausea
- You begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded.
After the procedure, the patient can eat or drink without any complications. If the process was minor and performed in the doctor’s office using local anesthesia, the patient can go home in an hour or less. If the procedure requires using regional anesthesia, your doctor will ask you to wait for the effects to wear off before you go home. This depends on the quantity of anesthesia used.
When the procedure requires the use of general anesthesia, one can still go home the same day. However, it takes more hours for the effects of wearing off. If, in the past, you have had adverse reactions to anesthesia, you may be required to stay overnight for observation.
Following some procedures, your doctor can prescribe painkillers to help with recovery. When the process involves surgery, you may be required to rest for two days or one before resuming your regular schedule. For one to recover well without complications, it is critical to adhere to your doctor’s instructions. Some of the instructions may be abstaining from sexual intercourse for not less than a week. Even when the procedure was diagnostic, avoiding is critical in preventing infections.
Preparing for the Procedure
When the procedure is purely diagnostic, you may not require any preparation, just having an appointment. However, when surgery is involved, you need to prepare beforehand, depending on what your doctor suggested. Some ways necessary to get ready include:
- If you have previous tests your doctor had ordered you to take, you must take them before and present the specialist with the results. This is usually important because it guides the doctor to know what to look out for during the procedure.
- Before the procedure, the nurse will take down your medical history. In case you have any other health condition that you are taking medication for, you must disclose it. This is critical because some drugs you could be taking can complicate the procedure. For instance, if you are taking arthritis or blood-thinning medications, you will be asked to stop them before surgery.
- Before the surgical procedure, you must not eat or drink anything six hours before the surgery. This includes chewing gum or candy. For instance, if the schedule of your process is early morning, you must not consume anything from midnight. Similarly, if the procedure is for the afternoon, the last thing you consume should be 6 am.
- Showering before going for your procedure is necessary. However, you should not use any products on your skin after the shower. This includes lotions, deodorants, powder, or perfume.
- As you prepare to come, ensure to bring the following with you:
- Any X-rays taken, ECG, and blood test results.
- Any medications you may have been taking and have them labeled.
- Your card for insurance coverage
- Your registration form fully completed
- Personal effects that include pads, toiletries and underwear
Expectations After the Procedure
After the successful completion of the procedure, you will expect the following:
- From the theatre, you are taken to the recovery room. This is where you stay until the anesthesia wears off. Once recovered, you get transferred to a bed at the day procedure unit.
- As you recover from the effects of the anesthesia, a nurse allocated to you will take routine observations. This is done to monitor your pulse, temperature and blood pressure. The inspection is more frequent immediately after you leave the theatre and less frequent as you recover. Once fully recovered, you will be prepared to leave the hospital.
- Before going home, the doctor will give you pain medication if necessary, to aid in your recovery.
- The nurse will also discuss a follow-up appointment with you. If discharge arrangements had been made, the nurse would present them with you as well.
- You should be able to eat and drink as usual after the surgery as well as walk.
Critical Advice as You Leave The Hospital
Aside from what to expect post-surgery, before leaving the hospital, you will receive some advice. These instructions are critical to your wellbeing and recovery. Some bits of information include:
- Ensure to have the company of a grownup as you recover. Additionally, you must not operate heavy machinery, take alcohol, operate any motor vehicle, sign relevant documents or engage in sports on the day of discharge.
- When you experience pelvic discomfort as is normal following the procedure, take the pain medication as instructed by your physician.
- If necessary, you can resume your regular schedule like going to work a day after surgery. However, if the procedure performed was more involved, you may require a few more days to rest.
- You are likely to experience light bleeding lasting between five and seven days post the procedure.
- It is advisable to avoid taking baths for some time but shower instead.
- You should never use tampons during the recovery period but sanitary pads instead.
- You must avoid sexual intercourse for a week or more to prevent an infection.
- If you experience heavy bleeding, chills, fever, or severe pain after the procedure, you must schedule an appointment with the doctor to check the cause.
Risks with Hysteroscopy Procedure
There are minimal risks with hysteroscopy procedures. However, every surgical procedure comes with certain risks, even with the utmost care. Some of the risks you need to be aware of include:
- If the cervix interior narrows, the procedure may not get completed, requiring further surgery if necessary.
- Sometimes, a small hole may be made in your uterus. This is known as uterine perforation. In most cases, this may not pose a threat, but a laparotomy or laparoscopy procedure may be required to correct it. This will mean an extended hospital stay. When this hole is created, there is, however, a risk of destroying adjacent organs. These include the bladder or the bowel. This may also require further surgery to correct the situation.
- An infection can develop in the tubes, uterus, or the abdominal cavity. If this happens, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat it.
- Excessive bleeding may be experienced, requiring blood transfusion or more surgery.
- If general anesthesia was administered, there are various risks to it as well. These include:
- When small parts in the lungs collapse, enhancing chest infection risk. Antibiotics may be needed to treat the infection as well as physiotherapy.
- Some women experience clots in their legs, pain, and even swelling. On infrequent occasions, the clot may break and travel to the lungs. If this happens, it can cause death.
- If your heart strains during the procedure, one can experience a stroke or heart attack. Death is, however, not likely during the process.
- Overweight women may experience other complications. Their risk of infections is high just as lung and heart complications are. Blood clots are also prevalent with heavier women.
- If you are a smoker, you will be at a higher risk of chest and wound infections. Lung and heart complications may also occur, even blood clots.
Despite all the discussed risks, the procedure in a majority of cases goes on without any complications at all. Typically, the nurse takes the medical history and lifestyle habits before the process. These details are critical in mitigating any risks that may occur. For this reason, it is always advisable to be as open as possible when disclosing your habits and medical history.
Cost of Hysteroscopy Procedure
When ordered to undergo this procedure, one of the first questions on your mind is the cost. The cost of this procedure depends on the actual process to be carried out. Typically, the range is between $750 and $3,500. For instance, if your operation was purely for diagnostics, the cost is less than when it involved a surgical procedure. Sometimes the process is extensive. When it requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay, the price can rise to $7,000.
When Hysteroscopy is considered a necessary medical procedure, some insurance providers cover the cost, even partially. However, the coverage one receives depends on the policy taken.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before committing to the procedure, most potential patients have many questions they need answering. Some of these include:
What Benefits Will One Have From Having A Hysteroscopy Procedure?
Although there are other procedures to treat some conditions that doctors use Hysteroscopy to address, the benefits of using Hysteroscopy are more. The time taken to recover from the process is less, and the method hardly requires a hospital stay. In most cases, the pain or discomfort is minimal when no abdominal wound is left.
What Procedures Would A Gynecologist Use Hysteroscopy To Treat?
Gynecologists use Hysteroscopy to inspect the uterine wall, check for abnormalities like fibroids that may be responsible for heavy bleeding. If a woman has challenges conceiving, analysis of the uterine cavity is also carried out. Other conditions a doctor will use Hysteroscopy to treat include:
- Removing cervical polyps and fibroids
- Carrying out a biopsy of the uterine lining
- This is the process of opening or unblocking blocked fallopian tubes.
- If your intrauterine contraceptive device is displaced, the doctor can use this procedure to locate and remove it.
- To perform endometrial ablation. This is the procedure of destroying the lining of the uterus as a treatment for heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding.
What Is Endometrial Ablation?
This is an outpatient surgical procedure performed to stop or reduce your menstrual bleeding. During the process, the destruction of the uterus is carried out using an electrical current. When the heat is applied, it stops the lining of the uterus from growing again. This is an excellent option instead of hysterectomy for patients that experience irregular or heavy bleeding.
Who Qualifies For Endometrial Ablation?
Endometrial ablation is not for every woman that experienced heavy bleeding or irregular one. The procedure is recommended for women that are done with childbearing and experience these types of bleeding. Gynecologists must, however, rule out the presence of intrauterine pathology. This is because it can also be responsible for the heavy bleeding. A biopsy of the uterine wall is also carried out to eliminate the presence of cancer. Once all these get removed, endometrial ablation is carried out. Additionally, when a potential patient has the following, the procedure is not recommended. These are:
- When one has a sizeable uterine cavity that is greater than 12cm
- You have cancer or hyperplasia.
- When a fibroid or polyp gets identified
- When the patient suffers from dysmenorrhea, this is when the cramps experienced during the menstrual period are severe.
What Should One Expect Following The Endometrial Ablation Procedure?
After the successful completion of the procedure, the bleeding you experience will decrease. Some women also report that the bleeding stops completely. Even when the bleeding doesn’t stop totally, there is a decrease in the flow. A patient is required to continue with regular exams such as pap smear tests or pelvic tests.
Can Other Surgeries Be Performed Together With Hysteroscopy?
The answer to this question is yes. Women that are having challenges conceiving, the doctors are usually carrying out investigations into their infertility. For this reason, laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy can be carried out together. Other surgeries that can get performed at the same time include liposuction or bladder suspension.
What Contradictions Are There With Hysteroscopy?
Although the risks are nearly never experienced, some issues may arise, primarily when general anesthesia is used in Hysteroscopy. Heart and lung problems may be experienced, especially with overweight patients. This procedure is, however, often performed using local or regional anesthesia. As a result, one suffers minimal issues, if any.
How Long Will One Take To Recover From The Procedure?
As earlier discussed, the recovery period is quick because there are no incisions made. Some patients may need pain medicine immediately following the procedure. However, anti-inflammatory drugs are usually more recommended, and they work well in aiding recovery. The doctor will also prescribe pain medications before discharging you. In a day or two, a person can get back to their regular schedule. But, avoid more strenuous activities such as sports for a short while. Sexual activities are also discouraged to prevent infections for a week and the use of tampons as well. Post-surgery, most women can go back to work in a week.
What Should One Expect Immediately After The Surgical Process?
When this surgical procedure gets carried out, the patient should expect some of the following:
- Cramping of the uterus or abdominal pain
- Bleeding through the vagina
- Dizziness and nausea
- If, during the procedure, a tube for general anesthesia was used, your throat will feel scratchy.
These are normal and should not alarm you in any way.
When Should One See The Doctor After The Procedure?
Typically, following the procedure, the nurse will schedule your next appointment for the doctor to see your progress. However, a situation may cause you to see the doctor before the scheduled time. Some of the symptoms that should get you to see your doctor immediately include:
- When you experience heavy bleeding, this is measured by when you use more than one sanitary pad in an hour.
- You experience fever or increased temperatures.
- You are unable to pass urine.
- Your cramping is increased or severe.
- You begin to vomit excessively.
- You start to experience difficulties breathing.
Find a Gynecologist Near Me
Hysteroscopy is a necessary procedure that is effective and fast in dealing with many reproductive issues in women. However, other methods and risks are there, but with an experienced doctor, the process is almost always flawless. Visiting a gynecologist when you experience challenges with your reproductive system is best. The gynecologists, after the exam, will guide you on the treatment procedure suitable. If you are in Los Angeles, visit All Women’s Care for comprehensive gynecological care. Find us at 213-250-9461 to schedule an appointment.