It is not uncommon that some preparation is needed before a woman may proceed with her IVF cycle. Quite often, a polyp removal procedure is necessary. A polyp is a benign mass on the cavity of the uterus (endometrial or uterine polyp) or in the cervix (cervical polyp). Polyps may be flat or attached to the uterus by an elongated pedicle. They range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. They are common in women of all ages.
Polyps often cause no symptoms and they are detected by transvaginal ultrasound scan (e.g. during a check-up or infertility investigations) or by hysterosalpingogram. When they occur, symptoms include irregular menstrual bleeding, bleeding between menstrual periods or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding. If a woman is trying for a baby, then a polyp might cause infertility.
Polyps can be surgically removed with operative hysteroscopy. This is a routine procedure performed daily and the patient does not need to stay in the hospital overnight (one-day surgery). Using a small camera, the doctor can inspect the cavity of the uterus and remove the polyp at the same time. Operative hysteroscopy is performed under mild anesthesia, so that the patient sleeps and feels no pain.
Scheduling a hysteroscopy
The best time to remove a polyp by hysteroscopy is in the first half of your cycle (after the bleeding has stopped). It can also be done in the second half of the cycle, provided the patient is not pregnant. The procedure usually lasts about 30 mins. Patients should not eat or drink for 8 hours prior to hysteroscopy because of the anesthesia.
Is it painful?
The procedure usually does not cause pain, but you might feel abdominal cramps. Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol, should be enough to make you feel better. The woman does not need to stay in the hospital following the procedure. She might feel dizzy or nauseous because of the anesthesia, so she should remain in the hospital for a few hours, but after that she may go home. Most women return to their everyday life on the next day. Polyp removal is generally a safe procedure. Most women might have light bleeding for 1-2 days (or up to a week); this is normal. Serious complications are very rare (2 in 1.000). A biopsy of the removed polyp is suggested. However, there is a small risk that the polyps tend to grow back.