What is an Endometrial Biopsy?
An endometrial biopsy is a procedure in which a small amount of tissue from the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, is removed for testing. This endometrial tissue is then examined for signs of cancer or other abnormalities.
When is an Endometrial Biopsy Necessary?
The most common reason why your gynecologist will recommend an endometrial biopsy is to diagnose the cause of irregular or heavy bleeding, bleeding after menopause, or an absence of bleeding altogether. Endometrial biopsy is usually performed when your gynecologist finds that you have symptoms of endometrial cancer, which can include bleeding as well as pelvic pain or unexpected weight loss. In less common scenarios, your gynecologist may also recommend endometrial biopsy to check results of hormone therapy or to screen for uterine infections. A majority of patients who undergo an endometrial biopsy are above the age of 35.
The Endometrial Biopsy Procedure
Most endometrial biopsies can be completed without requiring anesthesia. First, your gynecologist will use a speculum to view your cervix, as in a Pap test. The cervix is then cleansed before a thin tube is inserted to collect a tissue sample from the endometrium. This process can be completed in as little as 5-15 minutes. You may feel some discomfort similar to menstrual cramping during and after an endometrial biopsy.
After your biopsy is complete, the tissue sample will be sent to be examined under a microscope to determine whether or not the cells are abnormal or cancerous. Most results are returned in about 1-2 weeks after your biopsy.
Recovery After Endometrial Biopsy
Most patients can return to their normal routines immediately after an endometrial biopsy. You will likely experience some cramping, which can be relieved using an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. Some light spotting or bleeding after the procedure is normal. Avoid using tampons or having sexual intercourse for up to a week after your endometrial biopsy. Your gynecologist may also advise you to avoid swimming or baths for about a week. If you experience fever, bleeding for more than two days, severe pain, or unusual discharge, call your gynecologist as these can be signs of complication or infection.
Schedule an Appointment
If you notice symptoms such as irregular bleeding or pelvic pain, it is important to schedule an appointment with a board-certified gynecologist. Call Carnegie Women’s Health in Manhattan at (315) 628-7063 or contact us online to schedule your first appointment.
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