What is flexible hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is a way of viewing the inside of the uterus by gently inserting a very thin, flexible fiber-optic camera, called a hysteroscope, into the uterus through the vagina. This type of hysteroscopy can take place with local anesthesia in our surgical facility instead of under general anesthesia in a hospital. Hysteroscopy allows Dr. Gurley to identify any problems that may be originating in the uterus such as polyps, fibroids, pre-cancer, and uterine cancer. It is done without making incisions and with little discomfort. While the insertion portion of the hysteroscope itself is very thin (thinner than the diameter of a pencil), the advanced optic design allows a full color view of the inside of the uterus and the openings to the Fallopian tubes with a video monitor in the room, you will be able to see as well and have your questions answered.
Why would I need hysteroscopy?
You may be experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, or AUB, often due to fibroids or polyps in the uterus. AUB can be defined as any significant change in your period. Maybe you’ve noticed an increase in your flow, or more frequent periods or unexplained spotting or bleeding after menopause. Based on what your doctor finds, you can discuss what method of treatment is best for you—right then and there. Another reason Dr. Gurley might suggest hysteroscopy is if you have trouble conceiving or suffer from repeated miscarriages. Dr. Gurley might recommend hysteroscopy in order to actually see—rather than make an educated guess—if you have adhesions, polyps or fibroids that may be hindering conception or carrying a pregnancy to term. And the more you and Dr. Gurley know about what the problem is, the easier it is to treat.
What happens to me during hysteroscopy with local anesthesia?
You’ll change into a gown and lie on an examination table with your feet in stirrups. Dr. Gurley will check to see if the opening of the cervix needs to be dilated slightly with a special instrument. The hysteroscope is then gently inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. Dr. Gurley will release a small amount of saline solution into the uterine cavity, allowing it to expand so he can see more clearly. A light in the hysteroscope allows Dr. Gurley to carefully check the walls of the uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes. The examination takes less than 10 minutes.
Does the procedure hurt?
It causes little discomfort. Most women only feel cramping, similar to menstrual pain.
Are there any side effects from the procedure?
You may experience menstrual-type cramps and slight bleeding for about 24 hours after a hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopy is a very safe procedure because it is done under constant visualization. Complications are rare. Instances of infection, heavy bleeding, injury to the cervix or uterus occur in less than 1% of cases. Should you experience severe abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge or a fever, get in touch with our office. Feel free to discuss hysteroscopy under local anesthesia with Dr. Gurley as a patient-friendly option for diagnosis of abnormal uterine bleeding, certain types of infertility and other gynecological problems.