Getting Pregnant and Fertility Surgery: Hysteroscopy
A hysteroscopy is a type of treatment for infertility that can help to improve a coupleï¿½s chances of getting pregnant. Known as an operative hysteroscopy, this fertility surgery procedure can be used to treat problems contributing to female infertility as well as to diagnose causes of female infertility, in which case it is referred to as a diagnostic hysteroscopy.
But what exactly is a hysteroscopy and what types of fertility problems can it help to detect and treat? What can women undergoing this procedure expect after a hysteroscopy?
What is A Hysteroscopy?
An operative hysteroscopy is a procedure that is used in the analysis of the uterine cavity. As such, it can be effective in the treatment of blockages, endometriosis, as well as adhesions, all of which can contribute to infertility.
In addition, a hysteroscopy can be used as a diagnostic tool that can help to identify the possible causes of infertility.
Both procedures are generally the same; however, a diagnostic laparoscopy uses a smaller hysteroscope (the lighted tube-shaped instrument that is used to perform the procedure) and is usually conducted at your health care providerï¿½s office, while an operative laparoscopy is generally performed at a hospital and involves the use of a larger hysteroscope. Also, a diagnostic hysteroscopy is performed without the use of an anaesthetic, unlike an operative hysteroscopy in which a general anaesthetic is administered.
What Does A Hysteroscopy Involve?
During a hysteroscopy, a hysteroscope is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. Surgery is generally performed one week following menstruation when the uterine lining is thin.
The cervical canal is then dilated and the hysteroscope is subsequently inserted into the uterine cavity. Carbon dioxide gas or liquid is inserted into the uterus in order to expand the cavity as well as to clear away any mucus or blood. Analysis and /or treatment is then undertaken.
After surgery, a Foley catheter (a flexible tube) or an intrauterine device might be inserted into the uterine cavity in order to prevent the uterine walls from fusing together. If this is the case, the catheter or device will be removed after a period of a few days.
How Effective Is a Hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy can be a very effective tool in the diagnosis and treatment of uterine irregularities that are contributing to female infertility. In particular, an operative hysteroscopy can be useful in the treatment of uterine fibroids, as well as scarring, polyps and congenital malformations such as a uterine septum.
Furthermore, a diagnostic hysteroscopy can be effective in identifying the cause of multiple miscarriages, as well as determining whether the shape and size of the uterus are contributing to infertility.
What Are the Side Effects of a Hysteroscopy?
During the procedure, you will likely only experience mild pain, as an anaesthetic is typically used. As the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, you will be allowed to rest and recuperate following the surgery in hospital or at your health care providerï¿½s office in cases when the procedure is performed there.
Common side effects associated with a hysteroscopy include shoulder pain (from the carbon dioxide), fatigue, dizziness, slight vaginal bleeding and minor cramps. These symptoms generally last for one to two days following surgery.
Contact your health care provider immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- severe abdominal pain
- heavy bleeding and/or discharge
On the day of the procedure, you should arrange to have someone drive you home.
Are There any Risks Associated with a Hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy is generally a very safe procedure, with problems occurring in only 1% of all cases.
When problems do occur, they are usually in the form of an infection, an injury to the cervix or uterus, heavy bleeding or side effects from the anaesthesia.
Visit our forum to chat with other women undergoing hysteroscopy.