Endometrial curettage is a simple, but still an invasive procedure that includes taking samples of the epithelium of the uterus. The procedure is also known as dilation and curettage. The name suggests that the cervix is first dilated and the doctor then manipulates inside the uterus, taking desirable tissue samples. Apart from taking samples of the uterus lining, during this procedure the doctor may remove endometrial polyps, if these are present.
The Importance of Endometrial Curettage
Most of the time endometrial curettage is necessary for evaluation of abnormal vaginal bleeding, heavy periods and spotting/bleeding during menopause. Furthermore, the procedure is performed in women who have previously undergone an ultrasound exam and are confirmed to have thickened and abnormal endometrium. Samples taken during the procedure are sent for pathohistological analysis. This way the presence of malignant cells may be either confirmed or ruled out.
Endometrial Curettage - the Very Procedure
The procedure is quite simple and performed on millions of women throughout the world.
Prior to the procedure, women get informed about all potential risk and complications. They are also explained why endometrial curettage must be performed and what to expect after it is done.
Endometrial curettage is never performed during a period. Patients are administered anti-inflammatory medications prior to and during the procedure. These drugs alleviate pain and discomfort associated with endometrial curettage. Additional help is obtained from local anesthetics which are important part of the procedure.
The procedure lasts a minute while preparation may take around a half an hour.
After Endometrial Curettage
It is normal to experience cramping after the procedure. Such cramping is quite similar to that experienced during menstruation. Cramping does not last more than several hours and can be brought under control with ibuprofen. Bleeding is also normal, but it eventually stops. In case bleeding becomes heavier, a woman is supposed to contact her doctor as soon as possible.
Prevention of infections in the treated area is achieved by abstaining from sex and using tampons for at least a week after the procedure.
Also, patients are advised not to bath but instead to shower. Even though a woman may return to work immediately after the procedure, she is recommended to rest.
In order to prevent some potential complications, a woman undergoing endometrial curettage is supposed to inform the doctor in advance about potential pregnancy and all medications she is currently taking. Allergy to drugs must also be reported. Finally, vaginal, cervical or pelvis infections that have been treated in the past 4 weeks, bleeding problems, artificial joints (e.g. previous hip/knee replacement) all must be reported as well.