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.