An endometrial biopsy is a way for your doctor to take a small sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The sample is looked at under a microscope for abnormal cells. An endometrial biopsy helps your doctor find any problems in the endometrium. It also allows your doctor to check to see if your body's hormone levels that affect the endometrium are in balance.
An endometrial biopsy may be done for various reasons. When a woman is having a hard time becoming pregnant, an endometrial biopsy may be done to see whether the lining of her uterus can support a pregnancy. An endometrial biopsy may also be done to find the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding, to check for overgrowth of the lining (endometrial hyperplasia), or, to check for cancer.
This test is performed in our office and does not require any anesthesia. Once a speculum is placed in the vagina, the cervix is cleansed with an antiseptic solution and a thin, flexible catheter (a pipelle) is inserted into the uterus. The catheter is moved in and out of the cervix, about three times, to collect small pieces of endometrial tissue. The tissue is then placed in a preservative and sent to the lab for analysis by a pathologist. The entire procedure takes slightly longer than the amount of time it takes to obtain a Pap smear. The test usually causes some cramping which may be alleviated by taking 400-600mg of ibuprofen prior to the biopsy or shortly thereafter. There is often 2-3 days of light bleeding after the biopsy is performed.