Unusual Uterine Bleeding
Bleeding from the uterus differing in frequency or quantity is known as abnormal uterine bleeding. This type of bleeding occurs irregularly or can be lighter or heavier than usual. Bleeding occurring after menopause, after sex, or in between periods is also considered abnormal. Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure done to determine, and sometimes treat, the cause of the bleeding.
Why am I bleeding?
The most common causes of abnormal uterine bleeding are fibroids, polyps, cancer, infection, thickened uterine wall, and hormonal birth control. Bleeding disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and extreme weight changes are also reasons for abnormal bleeding.
The hysteroscope approach
A hysteroscopy is a procedure where the healthcare provider uses a device to examine the uterus. This technique helps diagnose and treat abnormal uterine bleeding. Other reasons to get hysteroscopy include fibroids, adhesions, septum, repeated miscarriage, and to visualize an intrauterine device (IUD).
The tool used during the procedure is called a hysteroscope, a thin tube that is introduced through the vagina to examine the uterus. Hysteroscopy is also used for treatment, such as removing fibroids or polyps.
Who needs a hysteroscopy?
The healthcare provider will assess the patient’s overall health, medical history, and current uterine bleeding symptoms to decide if a hysteroscopy is needed. Patients who are pregnant or who have a pelvic infection are not eligible for this procedure.
Risks and benefits
The benefit of hysteroscopy is that the healthcare specialist can diagnose and treat certain conditions with a minimally invasive procedure. Hysteroscopy allows the doctor to view and repair abnormalities without damaging adjacent structures. Generally, hysteroscopy is a safe and effective procedure. However, there are still risks, such as infection, bleeding, and injury to the cervix and other structures. There could also be complications from anesthesia or the substance used to expand the uterus.
A solution for abnormal bleeding
After hysteroscopy, a patient is usually kept under observation until the anesthesia wears off. Women who have this procedure done go home the same day. Mild vaginal bleeding and cramps after the procedure for 1-2 days are common. For many women, a hysteroscopy can solve the causes of abnormal bleeding without the need for surgery or medication.