A hysteroscopy is a simple procedure usually carried out on an outpatient or day-case basis. This means you won't normally need to stay in hospital overnight.
In the days and weeks before a hysteroscopy, you may be advised to:
If you're going to have fibroids removed, you may be given medicine to help shrink them beforehand.
A hysteroscopy is not usually carried out under anaesthetic, as it's a relatively quick procedure and does not involve making cuts (incisions) in your skin.
Occasionally, a local anaesthetic may be used to numb your cervix (entrance to the womb) during the procedure.
Longer or more complicated procedures, such as the removal of fibroids, may be done under general anaesthetic. This means you'll be asleep while the operation is carried out.
If you're having a general anaesthetic, you'll need to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours before the procedure. Your appointment letter will mention whether this applies to you.
If you're having no anaesthetic or just a local anaesthetic, you can eat and drink as normal.
It's a good idea to wear loose, comfortable clothes when you arrive for your appointment, as you'll be asked to remove any clothes from below your waist and change into a hospital gown for the procedure.
You can bring a friend or relative with you for support, although they may not be allowed in the room during your hysteroscopy.
A hysteroscopy usually takes between 5 and 30 minutes. During the procedure:
If at any point you are finding the procedure too uncomfortable, tell the doctor or nurse. They can stop at any time.
In some cases, a small sample of tissue from the womb lining may be removed for further testing. This is known as an endometrial biopsy.
If you're having a hysteroscopy to treat a condition such as fibroids or polyps, fine surgical instruments can be passed along the hysteroscope. These are used to cut or burn away the abnormal tissue.
You should be able to go home soon after a hysteroscopy, although you may need to stay in hospital for a few hours if you had a general anaesthetic.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss their findings with you before you leave, although it may take a few weeks to get the results of a biopsy.
You can usually return to your normal activities later the same day or the following day if no anaesthetic or just a local anaesthetic was used. If you had a general anaesthetic, you may need to take things easy for a day or 2.
Read more about recovering from a hysteroscopy.