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Endometrial Biopsy

How It Is Done

Endometrial biopsy

An endometrial biopsy is usually done by a gynecologist, a family medicine physician, or a nurse practitioner who has been trained to do the test. The sample will be looked at by a pathologist. The biopsy can be done in your doctor's office.

You will need to take off your clothes below the waist. You will be given a covering to drape around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by foot rests (stirrups).

Your doctor will insert a lubricated tool called a speculum camera.gif into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so your doctor can see inside the vagina and the cervix. The cervix is washed with a special solution and may be grasped and held in place with a clamp called a tenaculum.

Your cervix may be numbed with a spray or injection of local anesthetic.

The tool to collect the sample is guided through the cervix into the uterus. The tool may be moved up and down to collect the sample. Most women have some cramping during the biopsy.

An endometrial biopsy takes 5 to 15 minutes.

How It Feels

Endometrial biopsy

You may feel a sharp cramp as the tool is guided through your cervix. You may feel more cramping when the biopsy sample is collected. Most women find that the cramping feels like a really bad menstrual cramp.

Some women feel dizzy and sick to their stomachs. This is called a vasovagal reaction. This feeling will go away after the biopsy.

An endometrial biopsy usually causes some vaginal bleeding. You can use a pad for the bleeding or spotting.

Risks

There is a small chance that the cervix or uterus could be punctured during the biopsy. Bleeding or a pelvic infection is also possible.

After the test

You may feel some soreness in your vagina for a day or two. Some vaginal bleeding or discharge is normal for up to a week after a biopsy. You can use a sanitary pad for the bleeding. Do not do strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for one day after your biopsy. Do not have sex, use tampons, or douche until the spotting stops.

Follow any instructions your doctor gave you. Call your doctor if you have:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (more than a normal menstrual period).
  • A fever.
  • Belly pain.
  • Bad-smelling vaginal discharge.

Results

An endometrial biopsy is a way for your doctor to take a small sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium camera.gif). Lab results from a biopsy may take several days to get back.

Endometrial biopsy
Normal:

No abnormal cells or cancer is found. For women who have menstrual cycles, the lining of the uterus is at the right stage for the time in the menstrual cycle when the biopsy was done.

Abnormal:

A noncancerous (benign) growth, called a polyp, is present.

Overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) is present.

Cancer or cell changes that may lead to cancer are present.

For women who have menstrual cycles, the lining of the uterus is not at the right stage for the time in the menstrual cycle when the biopsy was done. More tests may be needed.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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