Endometrial biopsy and ultrasound

• Endometrial biopsy and ultrasound can both be used to investigate the cause of abnormal bleeding.

• An endometrial biopsy is a sample of tissue taken from the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium. The biopsy is usually carried out as an out-patient procedure without an anaesthetic.

• You will be asked to lie on your back with your legs apart. A plastic or metal instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to hold the vaginal walls apart. A narrow plastic device is then passed into the vagina, through the cervix and into the uterus, where it is used to remove a piece of tissue. This is then sent to the laboratory.

• Endometrial biopsy is not usually painful. If you have not been pregnant, however, your cervix might be tightly closed. If this is the case, local anaesthetic can be used to numb the cervix, and a metal instrument can be used to open it gently. Sometimes a general anaesthetic is needed.

• You can get back to normal straight away after an endometrial biopsy, but you may have spotting of blood for a few days afterwards. Laboratory results should be with your doctor in about a week.

• With ultrasound, a probe is gently placed in the vagina, and the image of the uterus is seen on a screen. Scan results are available immediately, but you may have to wait for your doctor to interpret them and inform you.