A hysteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the inside of the womb (uterus).
It's carried out using a hysteroscope, which is a narrow telescope with a light and camera at the end. Images are sent to a monitor so your doctor or specialist nurse can see inside your womb.
The hysteroscope is passed into your womb through your vagina and cervix (entrance to the womb), which means no cuts need to be made in your skin.
A hysteroscopy can be used to:
A procedure called dilatation and curettage (D&C) used to be commonly used to examine the womb and remove abnormal growths, but nowadays hysteroscopies are carried out instead.
A hysteroscopy is usually carried out on an outpatient or day-case basis. This means you don't have to stay in hospital overnight.
It may not be necessary to use anaesthetic for the procedure, although local anaesthetic (where medication is used to numb your cervix) is sometimes used.
General anaesthetic may be used if youre having treatment during the procedure or you would prefer to be asleep while its carried out.
During a hysteroscopy:
A hysteroscopy can take up to 30 minutes in total, although it may only last around 5-10 minutes if it's just being done to diagnose a condition or investigate symptoms. You may experience some discomfort similar to period cramps while it's carried out, but it shouldn't be painful.
Most women feel able to return to their normal activities the following day, although some women return to work the same day.
You may wish to have a few days off to rest if general anaesthetic was used.
While you're recovering:
Your doctor or nurse will discuss the findings of the procedure with you before you leave hospital.
A hysteroscopy is generally very safe, but like any procedure there is a small risk of complications. The risk is higher for women who have treatment during a hysteroscopy.
Some of the main risks associated with a hysteroscopy are:
A hysteroscopy will only be carried out if the benefits are thought to outweigh the risks.
A hysteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the inside of the womb. Find out why they're carried out, what happens during and after the procedure, and what the risks are.
Read about what happens before and during a hysteroscopy, including what you need to do to prepare and what happens while the procedure is carried out.
Read about what happens after a hysteroscopy, including when you can go home, when you can return to your normal activities, and when you should seek medical advice.