Tag Archives: endometrial biopsy

Are Doctors Underestimating the Pain of Endometrial Biopsy?

My doctor right before my endometrial biopsy: “It’s similar to a pap smear. You may feel some cramping and pressure.”

She “forgot” to mention the stabbing pain, the scraping and slashing. She also “forgot” to tell me that there is a high chance I’d get dizzy, nauseous and shaky,  maybe even pass out.

endometrial biopsy

In 2015, I had a “surprise” endometrial biopsy.  Doctor asked me to come in to discuss my pelvic ultrasound results. Next thing I knew, she cut and scraped three samples from my cervix. I wasn’t offered any pain medication or anesthesia. After the biopsy, both the doctor and nurse quickly left the room. I felt incredibly dizzy, nauseous and shaky. My entire body was tingly and hot. I almost passed out. My first thought was something went terribly wrong. Later in the car, I fell apart and cried.

When I first wrote about my experience, I had no idea how many women have to put up with this insanely painful procedure. I have received over a hundred comments from women who describe this procedure as “barbaric” and “traumatizing”. Each time I read a new comment, my heart goes out to each and every lady.

Please take a few minutes to read some of the comments. Here’s what most of them have in common.

  • doctor downplayed the procedure
  •  “some pressure and cramping”
  •  “slight discomfort”
  •  was misinformed
  • wasn’t offered pain medication or anesthesia
  • felt sharp, stabbing pain
  • felt nauseous, dizzy, shaky
  • I passed out
  • I screamed

 

“I just had my biopsy a few hours ago. My dr. said I’d experience “cramping” at first, I thought I could handle it and then the searing pain deep inside was too much. I thought she was done and then she said she needed one more. I started sweating and crying and held my breath. This was one of the most painful procedures I’ve had done. I had to lie down for five minutes afterward to pull myself together. I went to my car and bawled my eyes out:(.”

 

“I had a EMB today and I will say it hurt like hell! I have a curved cervix so putting in the tool to open you was painful to start with. She measured my uterus…that hurt but once she started the procedure I couldnt help but to scream. She asked me if I could handle the procedure and not scream?? Clearly she has never had one. As soon as they start you naturally scream but I tried to keep from doing it by squeezing my own fat on my stomach! That was the only thing I could grab although it wasnt much to hold on to. She did 2 or 3 samples and I couldnt wait for her to be done! Once she was done I covered my face with my hands and was in so much pain all I could do was laugh hysterically then I started shaking then came the tears. I couldnt get up for about 10 min waiting for the pain to stop…it didnt so i got up and got dressed. I will never do this again..if it is needed they need to find a alternative method to get their sample by because I am not a gluten for punishment!!!”

 

This comment is really scary. Ladies, make sure someone can drive you.

“Thank you for this post. On June 18, 2018 I had this procedure done….mild discomfort during the procedure…got up got dressed and was told by my dr when leaving, if I ran a fever to go immediately to the emergency room……5 minutes later while driving home…had a massive vasovagal response and caused a massive motor vehicle collision. Do not mess with this stuff-have someone drive you always.”

 

Why in the world do they not tell us to have someone drive us?

Why are they subjecting us to so much pain? Why can’t they give us local anesthesia?

Why are doctors downplaying the pain?

This is NOT a standard procedure. An endometrial biopsy is NOT a “no big deal” procedure.

The dentist numbs your mouth to fill a cavity. Some even offer a numbing gel for a regular cleaning. I once had a biopsy done on my gums – didn’t feel a thing.

Why is it that  when a tooth is drilled it is numbed but when a piece is taken from the cervix , we have to “suck it up” and endure?

I hate to say it, is it because it’s a “woman thing”? Do they assume we have a higher tolerance for pain than men? Is it because we are women and they expect us “to suck it up”?

For so many women, an endometrial biopsy is pure hell and something needs to be done to improve this situation. There has to be a better way. I have two daughters and I don’t ever want them to experience this distressing and traumatic procedure.

How do we go about this? What can be done? Do we lobby? It’s frustrating that in the year 2018 women still have to endure this.  If anyone has any ideas on how to change this, please let me know.

 

My Experience with Endometrial Biopsy

Disclaimer: This post is about my personal experience with Endometrial Biopsy. I am not a medical professional and can’t speak for everyone.chicago8

Initially, I wasn’t going to share this information on my blog, but after reflecting more on my experience I thought it might be a good idea to put it out there, even if it only helps one other woman.

I recently had a “surprise” Endometrial Biopsy done. Prior to my procedure, I knew nothing about it.

Several weeks ago, I went to see my gynecologist because my period had been heavy and long lasting. The doctor did a pap smear and an internal and external ultrasound. Two weeks later, I received a call from the nurse saying that my pap smear was normal but that I would need to come in to discuss the ultrasound results with the doctor.

I went in and was told that the ultrasound revealed a thick lining of the uterus. The doctor recommended an Endometrial Biopsy right then and there. She explained that the biopsy checks for cancer and polyps. I was not prepared for this at all. I was also on my period but the doctor said it didn’t matter.  I have always heard that biopsies were not pleasant, but I had no idea what to expect with this procedure.

Here’s what happened:

With this biopsy my doctor inserted a thin hollow tube through the cervix into the uterus and suctioned out a small amount of endometrial tissue.  Tissue samples collected were analyzed by a pathologist.  My doctor told me I would feel “a lot of cramping.” The procedure lasted under three minutes and I did feel a lot of pressure when she took the sample. She took the sample three times and by the second time it started to hurt a lot more. I’m not going to lie, it felt  like I was being stabbed in the stomach. It was very uncomfortable but I told myself I could handle it since I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I gave birth three times, twice without an epidural. I wasn’t given anything. Not even an Ibuprofen.

Here’s where I  fell apart:

After the procedure I was still on the table when the doctor told me to get dressed.  She left and I got up to get my clothes. I felt incredibly dizzy and nauseous. My face in the mirror was white as a sheet and I broke out in terrible sweat. This was the moment I thought I was going to pass out. I sat down in a chair and my whole body felt like it was on fire. I panicked because I had no control over my body. I called for the nurse but she didn’t hear me. After about ten minutes, the weird symptoms slowly faded away. I got up and walked to the bathroom to get a cup of water. Then I left. I sat in the car and cried, feeling weak and shaky and angry with the doctor for downplaying the procedure so much. The psychological distress was worse than the physical pain. At home, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed in a fetal position and cry.

According to Web MD, I had a vasovagal reaction (also called vasovagal syncope).  A sudden dizziness or fainting that can be triggered by pain, fright, or trauma. You may sweat, feel lightheaded, nauseated, or tingly, and you may pass out if the reaction continues.

At home I researched the heck out of Endometrial Biopsy. It turns out most women’s experiences sound like horror stories. Apparently women scream in pain during the entire procedure. Some are bedridden for days afterwards.

Here’s what  women say:

 “I had my biopsy yesterday. It was unexpected so I could not prepare for the pain. It hurt like hell! It felt like a large sharp object was poking around and slashing the inside of my uterus. I was yelling! Loudly. She kept apologizing. She got her first sample but felt like there wasn’t enough tissue so had go in again!!!! I made her wait though, trying to get the pain to subside. It didn’t. Then more searing, agonizing pain! I was sweating. Afterwards, I lay on the table, panting, waiting for the pain to go away. It ebbed but I had cramps all night. If I have to have this done again, I will definitely take some pain meds and a muscle relaxer.”

 

“HAD THIS DONE YESTERDAY…AND LETS JUST SAY…I WILL NEVER GET THIS DONE AGAIN….IT WAS ALMOST TO THE POINT OF UNBEARABLE…HAD IT NOT BEEN A RATHER QUICK PROCEDURE I COULD HAVE PASSED OUT OR HAD A SEIZURE FROM THIS UNDESCRIBABLE CRAMPING/TWISTING/WRENCHING PAIN…I DON’T KNOW WHO WOULD DO THIS TWICE?FEELS JUST LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING…YOUR INSIDES ARE BEING YANKED OUT OF YOU!! LETS NOT SUGAR COAT IT LADIES…THATS EXACTLY WHATS HAPPENING!!!”

I guess not every woman has a terrible experience with this. For me it was uncomfortable and painful, but still bearable. I just wish someone would have told me what I can expect after the procedure. Looking back, the doctor totally downplayed the procedure. You can expect “some cramping and pressure”, she told me. I guess she “forgot” to mention the pain part.

Honestly, I almost think it’s better I didn’t know I was going to have this procedure done. I had no time to get anxious and nervous, and I had no time to Google what other women have to say. On the other hand it’s good to be informed and have every question answered before the procedure.

So, for all you ladies out there, in case you ever need an Endometrial Biopsy done, I hope my story was somewhat helpful and informative.