Hysteroscopy is a minor surgical procedure utilizing a thin fiberoptic tube or hysteroscope to see the inside of the uterus (endometrial cavity). Hysteroscopy allows the doctor to diagnose and treat a variety of uterine abnormalities which may cause infertility, recurrent miscarriages, abnormal bleeding and pain.
Conditions that can be treated with hysteroscopy
- Endometrial (uterine) polyps
Uterine, or endometrial, polyps are caused when an area of the uterine lining becomes overgrown, developing into a mass of tissue with its own blood supply. These polyps can usually be removed during a hysteroscopy and examined to determine whether they are symptoms of a larger problem.
- Fibroids in the uterine cavity
The uterine wall is composed of smooth muscle cells. If these cells become overgrown, the resulting mass is called a fibroid. Normally, these growths do not affect fertility and, therefore, do not require treatment. However, if a fibroid interferes with blood supply or covers a large surface of the uterine wall, embryo implantation and nourishment might be affected.
- Scar tissue
As with uterine fibroids, scar tissue can prevent embryos from implanting into the uterine wall. Usually, this scar tissue is the result of a condition such as Asherman’s syndrome. Therefore, most women with this problem will already be undergoing fertility treatments and are likely to be aware of the presence of scar tissue.
- Uterine septum
In this case, a wedge-shaped piece of tissue known as a septum may remain near the top of the uterine cavity. If an embryo happens to implant on this septum, it has a much greater chance of miscarriage. For women that have experienced one or more miscarriages, a hysteroscopy could help to diagnose the cause.