What Is a Hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy is a safe, minimally invasive procedure that uses a small tube with a light and a camera at the end to look at your cervix and uterus. The camera is inserted into your vagina and guided up into the uterus.
Our fertility specialists use hysteroscopies for the following reasons, such as:
- diagnosing an issue in your uterus;
- taking a biopsy of tissue;
- removing uterine fibroids, polyps, or scar tissues within the uterus; or
- performing other procedures on your uterus or cervix.
Hysteroscopy & IVF
Hysteroscopy is a common diagnostic tool that our fertility specialists use to help patients experiencing infertility. As part of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, a hysteroscopy will help us check to make sure that your uterus is healthy enough for an embryo to implant and grow.
If our fertility specialist spots something during a hysteroscopy that could be causing your pregnancy issues, we will help you find the right fertility treatment options to address it.
Time Between Hysteroscopy & IVF
After a hysteroscopy your doctor may recommend that you wait a few weeks or up to three months (for large fibroids) before starting an IVF cycle.
Hysteroscopy vs. Laparoscopy
Hysteroscopy and laparoscopy are both minimally invasive procedures that use cameras to diagnose and treat conditions that affect your uterus and other reproductive organs.
Hysteroscopy does not require any incisions (cuts) because the tools for the procedure are inserted through the vagina. However, a laparoscopy requires the surgeon to make one or more small incisions in your abdomen (stomach). Laparoscopies have a slightly higher risk of complications from infection and bleeding since the surgeon has to make one or more incisions, unlike a hysteroscopy.
Some patients will need a laparoscopy if a procedure cannot be done through the vagina, or your surgeon is concerned about the risk of injury to other organs during hysteroscopy.
What to Expect at a Hysteroscopy
We perform most diagnostic hysteroscopies in an exam room without general anesthesia (where you are put to sleep and need a breathing tube). We do use moderate sedation (without a breathing tube) to help prevent discomfort.
However, if your surgeon is doing a hysteroscopy to remove uterine fibroids or perform other procedures on the uterus or cervix, it will need to be done in an operating room under general anesthesia.
A hysteroscopy in an exam room requires no preparation. However, if your hysteroscopy is in an operating room under anesthesia, you must:
- stop eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery.
- stop smoking at least 24 hours before your procedure (or sooner if you can).
- stop taking or adjust the dosage of any medications before your surgery based on your doctor’s recommendations.
Does a Hysteroscopy Hurt?
You are put under moderate sedation or anesthesia for the procedure using intravenous (IV) medication so you do not feel cramping or pinching. Most people do not remember the procedure.
How Long Does a Hysteroscopy Take?
A hysteroscopy in an exam room under mild sedation usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Hysteroscopy in an operating room under anesthesia can take up to two hours or more, depending on which procedures need to be done.
Can I Still Have a Hysteroscopy While on My Period?
Most hysteroscopies are done after your period has stopped and before ovulation. This is usually between days six and 12 of your menstrual cycle (day one is the first day of menstrual bleeding). Your doctor may also recommend taking a hormonal pill, such as birth control with estrogen and progesterone to “pause” the uterine lining so it stays thin. This will delay your ovulation to get a hysteroscopy but will not affect your ability to get pregnant in the future.
Hysteroscopies are outpatient procedures, which mean you can go home the same day. You will need someone to drive you home after being under anesthesia or sedation. If your hysteroscopy was performed in an operating room, you may need to stay overnight in the hospital, but that is not common.
Sometimes your surgeon will place a balloon in your uterus after the procedure to prevent your uterine walls from collapsing together so they heal better and don’t scar. You may have some cramping if your uterus reacts to having a foreign object (the balloon) inside. This can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Pain after Hysteroscopy
You may experience some mild cramping for a few hours after your hysteroscopy. Most people don’t have much pain and will go back to their daily activities the next day. If your hysteroscopy is done in an operating room under anesthesia you may need an additional day or two to recover.
Sex after Hysteroscopy
Unless your doctors instructs you otherwise, do not have sex for two weeks after your hysteroscopy. This ensures that the mucus in the lining of your cervix has a chance to recover and return to normal.
Find a Fertility Surgeon
Does Insurance Cover Hysteroscopy?
Many insurance plans will cover hysteroscopy, especially if it’s done to diagnose uterine abnormalities or to identify the cause of other symptoms like heavy bleeding, pain during your period, or miscarriage risks.
However, a hysteroscopy may require authorization to be covered. Some insurance plans even require a referral from your primary care provider or have other requirements to visit a fertility specialist. Our financial counselors will help you understand your coverage and provide cost estimates if your insurance does not cover your visit or hysteroscopy.
Schedule an Appointment With a Fertility Specialist
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, visit our fertility specialists at the Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine. We will diagnose and discuss your fertility issues and recommend treatment to give you the best chance of getting pregnant.
Call 801-581-3834 or request an appointment online with one of our fertility specialists.