24 Jan Endometrial Biopsy: Discover the reason behind your abnormal menstrual bleeding
Are you experiencing abnormal menstrual bleeding or a complete lack? If you are, then an endometrial biopsy may be required to determine the cause. An endometrial biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small sample of the endometrium (uterus lining) is collected and examined under a microscope1. This helps your doctor diagnosis bleeding problems, check for cancer, other cell abnormalities and the levels of the body’s hormones that affect the endometrium2. This procedure can usually be done at the doctor’s office. To see a specialist, visit the 67th Street OB/GYN Total Women’s Health Care for a list of our gynecologists in Manhattan.
When is an endometrial biopsy recommended?
As a biopsy is an effective medical procedure used for diagnosing or ruling out certain diseases, your doctor may recommend this procedure if you are having any of the symptoms below:
- Abnormal/excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Bleeding post-menopause
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Thickening of the uterine lining. This is usually discovered during an ultrasound
- The absence of menstrual bleeding before menopause
- In some cases, women suffering from infertility are advised to have this procedure in order to determine whether there is a problem with the endometrium
- Women over the age of 35 and pre-menopausal.
Note: this procedure cannot and should not be done on pregnant women as this can result in a miscarriage or preterm labor. This is also the most common test used to diagnose endometrial cancer in patients2.
Before & during an endometrial biopsy
You should not douche, use tampons or insert any device into the vagina within 24 hours of this procedure. Your health provider would also ask that you empty your bladder before the procedure. After all the necessary steps and questions regarding your health, medications and family history has been asked, the procedure can then be carried out.
For this procedure, you will be placed in the same position as that of a routine pelvic examination. A speculum will then be inserted into the vagina to hold it open for the duration of the procedure. This will give your doctor a clear view of the cervix. Following this, the cervix is cleaned with a special solution and another instrument is inserted to hold the cervix steady. A spray or injection may then be used to numb the cervix1. After which, a rod-like instrument may then be passed through the cervical opening to determine the length and location for the biopsy3. Finally, this instrument is removed and a thin suction tube is inserted into the uterus. This suction tube is used to collect tissue samples that are later sent to pathologists. This entire procedure usually takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
What to expect after an endometrial biopsy
As there may be slight bleeding after the procedure, you would want to bring a sanitary pad to wear after. The spotting along with a mild cramp may last for a few days after the procedure. Only take painkillers recommended by your health provider as certain painkillers such as aspirins may increase bleeding. This is because aspirins are blood thinners, hence the blood’s ability to clot will be reduced. If you were given any sedative, you would need someone to drive you home. You should not douche or insert any object into the vagina for 2-3 days after the procedure3. This also includes sex, i.e no sex for 2-3 days after the procedure. Lastly, you will also be advised against heavy lifting and other strenuous activities for a few days.
As this is a medical procedure, you should immediately contact your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding, bleeding that persists after 2 days, fever/chills, severe pains in the lower belly or horrible smells from vaginal discharge. You might need an antibiotic dosage if this occurs as you might have developed an infection.
There are a number of reasons to have an endometrial biopsy. For some, a family history of certain types of cancer plus similar symptoms may spark concerns. While others dealing with health issues such as fertility may require this procedure to rule out causes. Whatever the case, our OB/GYNs in Manhattan are attentive and experts in this procedure. Moreover, they would take the time to actually listen to you and perform any other necessary tests that is needed to address whatever issues you may be facing.