Endometrial Biopsy

A woman may be ovulating, but in some cases she may have a luteal defect or enlargement of the uterine lining. In an endometrial biopsy, a small sample of the woman’s uterine lining (endometrium) is removed. This biopsy is a measure to see whether ovulation has taken place.

Why It Is Done

By performing a biopsy, healthcare providers can evaluate whether or not the uterine lining responds normally to estrogen and progesterone. The effects of estrogen and progesterone are measured by the adequate preparation of the uterine lining.

An endometrial biopsy can also evaluate abnormal uterine bleeding, which is also generally reflective of hormone imbalances.

How It Is Done

This procedure involves removing tissue from the uterine lining for laboratory analysis. This may be done in the physician's office and usually doesn't require anaesthesia.

The procedure is usually done three to seven days before a woman’s menstrual period is expected to begin. Before an endometrial biopsy, it is important to make certain that the woman is not pregnant.

The procedure involves inserting a catheter (a flexible tube) through the cervix and into the uterus, where the healthcare provider can then remove a piece of tissue from the uterine lining. The procedure itself may cause mild pain or cramping. Some physicians may recommend taking ibuprofen prior to the procedure to help minimize the discomfort.

The tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory for evaluation of the cell types present at that particular time of the menstrual cycle. The types of cells present in the uterine lining change throughout the monthly cycle, and a diagnosis can be made based upon the cell type seen and the day of the menstrual cycle on which the sample was taken.

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