Endometrial biopsy is a procedure used to study the endometrium (lining of the uterus). It is usually done in your health care provider's office. During the biopsy, small tissue samples are taken from inside the uterus. These are then sent to a lab for study. If any problems are found, you and your health care provider will discuss treatment options. The biopsy usually takes only a few minutes, and you can often go back to your normal routine as soon as the procedure is over.
Reasons for the procedure
Endometrial biopsy may help pinpoint the cause of certain problems. These include:
- Bleeding after menopause
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Bleeding associated with hormone therapy
- Prolonged bleeding
- Abnormal Pap test results
- Having certain types of cancer
- Trouble getting pregnant (fertility problems)
What are the risks?
Problems with endometrial biopsy are rare, but can include:
- Damage to the uterine wall (very rare)
Getting ready for the procedure
Your health care provider will ask about your health and any medicines you take, like blood thinners. Before your biopsy, you may have tests to make sure you're not pregnant or have an infection. You may also be asked to sign a consent form. A day or 2 before the procedure:
- Avoid using creams or other vaginal medicines.
- Avoid douching.
- Ask your health care provider if you should take pain medicines shortly before the test.
During the biopsy
During the biopsy, you will likely experience the following:
- You will be asked to lie on an exam table with your knees bent, just as you do for a Pap test.
- You may have a brief pelvic exam. An instrument called a speculum is then inserted into the vagina to hold it open.
- An antiseptic solution may be applied to the cervix. The cervix may also be numbed with an anesthetic or dilated to widen the opening.
- A small tube is passed through the cervix into the uterus.
- It is normal to feel some cramping when the tube is inserted. But tell your health care provider if you have severe cramping or are very uncomfortable.
- Using mild suction, samples are taken from the uterine lining. You may feel pinching or additional cramping when this is done.
- The tube and speculum are then removed and the samples are sent to a lab for study.
After the procedure
After the procedure, you may experience the following:
- If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, you can rest on the table until you're ready to get dressed.
- For a few hours, you may feel some mild cramping. This can usually be relieved with over-the-counter pain medicines.
- You may have some bleeding for a few days. Use pads instead of tampons.
- Don't douche or use any vaginal medicines unless your health care provider says it's OK.
- Ask your health care provider when it's OK to have sex again.
It will take about a week for the biopsy results to come back from the lab. Then you and your health care provider can discuss the results. These may show that no treatment is required. Or, you may be scheduled for a follow-up appointment and more tests. If your biopsy was done for fertility problems, be sure to record the day when your next period begins.
Call your health care provider
Contact your health care provider if you have any of the following:
- Heavy bleeding (more than a pad an hour for 2 hours).
- Severe cramping or increasing pain.
- Fever over 100.4?F (38.0?C)
- Foul-smelling or unusual vaginal discharge.