An endometrial biopsy obtains a sample of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). This lining is shed during a woman’s menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, the endometrium provides a place for the fertilized egg to attach and develop. The cervix is the lower portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina and it provides a way into the uterus so that the biopsy can be done.
Your Woman’s Clinic gynecologist may recommend an endometrial biopsy if you have an abnormal Pap test, abnormal bleeding patterns, bleeding after menopause, unusual vaginal discharge or concerns for an infection. The results of this biopsy will give your gynecologist an idea of what treatment is best for your problems.
The biopsy will start much like a pelvic exam and a speculum will be placed in the vagina similar to the same way a pap smear is collected. A narrow, hollow instrument is passed through the opening in the cervix and into the cavity of the uterus. Through this tube, the provider can remove a sample of tissue by suction, like drawing up fluid in a syringe. The procedure is usually brief and takes just a few minutes.
The procedure might cause some mild discomfort. Many women will have some cramping similar to those during menstruation and there may be some spotting. A few women may experience dizziness or rarely, fainting during or immediately after the procedure. More serious risks include heavy bleeding from the uterus, infection in the uterus, or putting a hole in the uterus with the biopsy instrument, but these complications are very rate and may not cause symptoms until after the procedure. You might be advised not to have sexual relations, douche or use tampons for a few days, but your gynecologist will be able to discuss any additional information with you. If any symptoms seem to worsen, you have a fever or experience increased bleeding, be sure to let your gynecologist know.
Any woman who is pregnant should not have an endometrial biopsy and your gynecologist will be able to discuss further tests or other options with you. If you have any questions or concerns they will be glad to help.