What is an endometrial biopsy?
When struggling with undiagnosed female infertility, patients can undergo an endometrial biopsy to evaluate the uterine lining tissue for abnormalities. By sampling this tissue, doctors and fertility specialists can diagnose conditions that are interfering with fertility or causing other issues, such as abnormal bleeding.
When to use an endometrial biopsy
An endometrial biopsy is sometimes performed as part of the diagnostic process for those who are experiencing the following conditions:
- Post-menopausal bleeding
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Uterine polyps
Additionally, an endometrial biopsy can monitor the effects of hormone therapy and identify cervical or endometrial cancers.
The endometrial biopsy procedure
Before undergoing an endometrial biopsy, you will need to stop taking any blood-thinning medications. Your endometrial biopsy will be planned around your menstrual cycle, so you may be asked to track it leading up to this test.
The entire endometrial biopsy will take around ten minutes, and is similar to a routine pelvic exam. During the procedure, your doctor will insert a pipelle into the uterus. This is shifted back and forth to collect tissue, which will be extracted and submerged in a fluid for examination under a microscope.
Results will be available seven to ten days after this procedure. Depending on your results, your doctor will help you plan the best course of treatment.
After the procedure, you’ll likely need to wear a sanitary napkin and avoid using tampons for the first few days. It’s also important you refrain from strenuous physical activity and sexual intercourse for three days following the biopsy.
Post-treatment side effects associated with endometrial biopsies often include:
- Bleeding or spotting
- Pelvic infection
- Pain in the lower abdomen
If you experience discomfort, you can manage this with over-the-counter pain medication. If you experience abnormal side effects, contact your doctor immediately.
Risks of endometrial biopsy
It’s essential that this procedure is not performed while the patient is pregnant, as this can lead to a miscarriage. Although rare, it’s also possible that the uterine wall may become punctured. Minimize these risks by trusting your care to a reputable practice.