Blocked Fallopian Tubes.
Though that list can be discouraging, I discovered there are options that may remove those words from your struggle.
Just a few weeks into our first IVF cycle, our fertility specialist scheduled me for a hysteroscopy.
Seeing that we had been trying for years to get pregnant, and I had all the symptoms of endometriosis, he wanted to go in and try to clear out as much scar tissue as he could before the embryo transfer stage. This would greatly increase the chances of our little embryo sticking!
I hadn’t even heard of a hysteroscopy before we had made it to the point that we were already committed to the IVF cycle. And though I so wish I would’ve had this procedure does sooner, I’m still just thankful it was an option for us, and that my doc was willing to do it!
As I mentioned in the diagnostic testing post, finding a doc who would listen to me about further exploring my endometriosis was next to impossible.
We went several rounds with docs before anyone would listen, and since we were so close to beginning our IVF treatment when I finally found a great OBGYN who wanted to schedule a laparoscopy to diagnose my endometriosis, we decided to forgo that procedure and move forward with IVF. I’m very thankful our RE chose to perform the hysteroscopy, and it was great to clean everything out before the embryo transfer!
What’s the difference between a hysteroscopy and
and what do they have to do with infertility?
Both procedures remove barriers that could be preventing implantation from occurring. These procedures can clear out fallopian tubes and remove scar tissue, fibroids, cysts and lesions.
Though both procedures are very
similar, there are some differences you should know about.
A hysteroscopy is recommended for the inside the uterus.
A laparascopy is recommended for the outside of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and the internal pelvic area.
You can see why your doctor may want to perform one procedure over the other depending on your specific fertility diagnosis, or they may even look into performing both procedures as a beginning step to fertility treatment options.
If you are experiencing infertility or secondary infertility, request to have these procedures done, especially if you know for sure any of the above items are specific to your fertility obstacles.
If you’re like us and have gone through extensive testing only to find little to no problems and still aren’t getting pregnant, your doctor might be able to find the reason why with these procedures. Finding some cysts or removing scar tissue could be simple enough to help you get pregnant. If you know you have PCOS or endometriosis, ask your doctor if these procedures are recommended for your situation!
Another great thing about having these procedures done before moving forward with other treatments is that that your insurance may cover the costs! We know fertility treatments are anything but cheap, so taking every step you can with insurance coverage is ideal! And who knows, this could be just what you needed to get pregnant without the extra meds and treatments.
If you are doing IUIs, call your insurance company to see if they cover hysteroscopy, then talk with your doc about performing this. I wish we would have done our hysteroscopy before our IUIs rather than waiting all the way until our IVF cycle.
I honestly didn’t know hysteroscopy
was an option. I thought laparoscopy with my OBGYN was our only
option. When my OBGYN described the procedure, it seemed very painful and
scary to me. (Incision through my abdomen? No thanks!) I believe this
could have played a huge part in our IUI cycles being unsuccessful. Again, I wish we
had done this sooner!
So, please, look into this!
Now that we’ve gotten through all the details, I want to share what my experience was actually like. Of course, every woman’s body is different, but here are some things I learned from the procedure and some tips that may help you out!
The first weeks of our IVF cycle were super simple: birth control pills.
I took these from February 19 until March 4th. That night I actually took two pills in preparation for my hysteroscopy the following day.
The birth control pills were fine to take. I didn’t experience any side effects or issues from taking them. It was definitely a calmer beginning stage than starting right with Clomid like we did for our IUI cycles!
I was pretty nervous about the hysteroscopy, mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. And to be honest, I also didn’t want to be one of those people who made a complete fool of themselves coming out of anesthesia, so I was nervous about that! Thank goodness I didn’t say or do anything goofy (or at least that’s what my husband tells me).
As with any procedure or surgery where your body can possibly be introduced to bacteria or there’s a chance of infection, an antibiotic is recommended. I took two medications the night before the procedure. One was the antibiotic, and the other was a medication to dilate my cervix.
I was also instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight since I would be under general anesthesia. I went to bed around 9 knowing that we were going to have to get up and get the kids settled in the morning before my mom came over to watch them.
We showed up the next morning and got checked in and taken back to the pre-procedure/recovery room. I got to change into a fashionable hospital gown, hair net and booties.
Honestly, the worst part of the whole process for me was before I even got into the procedure room. They had an awful time finding my vein to get some blood, and to stick the IV in for the anesthesia. The nurse tried once and failed. She asked the anesthesiologist who was sitting there to try. He tried and punctured through the vein, that left a nasty bruise. And boy did that sucker hurt coming out.
He finally gave me a shot of lidocaine to numb another site to avoid causing me anymore pain. He was able to get the IV in there, and they took me back to the procedure room.
The RE had me wheeled into the procedure room where they administered general anesthesia. I laid on a typical OBGYN table with stirrups, and he inserted the speculum to open my cervix, similar to having a pap smear or an IUI done. They put on some music and the anesthesiologist started the drip.
The procedure itself was pretty quick and only lasted about 15 minutes. My doctor used a hysteroscope to push a saline liquid mixture through my uterus. This mixture is used to expand the uterus for a clearer view to what’s going on around the uterine lining and the openings of the fallopian tubes. The hysteroscope also has a light and camera at the end of it which connects to a monitor so the doctor can make a diagnosis and perform further treatment options – such as removing scar tissue, fibroids, endometrial or cervical polyps, and to biopsy the endometrial lining.
I don’t remember waking up, but I remember getting into the wheelchair in the procedure room. I don’t remember being wheeled to my room, but I remember coming out of it when they transferred me to the recliner to continue coming out of the anesthesia.
My husband was in the recovery room waiting for me during the procedure. The nurse gave me a heating pad to use for any abdominal pain and this was very much appreciated! If you’re looking for a nice heating pad to use post procedure at home, check out this gel one that straps around your waist, or this electric one that provides constant heat.
After I woke up some more, the nurse came in to review the medications I would be taking until the next appointment. I needed to continue taking the antibiotic, doxycycline, when I got home and shots to continue our IVF cycle would start on Saturday!
We went home and grabbed lunch on the way, which seemed to take forever for them to make; I was pretty hungry and beginning to get shaky from not eating all night and morning. I was still pretty sleepy from the anesthesia too, which didn’t help. Nonetheless, we ate lunch and headed home.
That afternoon I began feeling some light cramping and the heating pad was nice to have. I felt like I COULD get up and was able to help with stuff around the house, but my husband asked that I just stay put and relax. (This is good to know if you don’t have the option to take the afternoon off and need to get back to work. However, it is recommended you do not drive yourself following the procedure!) He took care of the kids that afternoon and evening. I’m glad I stayed put because it let my body continue to heal and rest after the procedure.
The doctor called and said that he found a lot of scar tissue that was removed and that it was very likely caused from endometriosis. He couldn’t tell how long it had been there, but said there was quite a bit, yet was able to remove it.
The Week After the Procedure
The rest of the week went fine. My husband went back to work the next day and I was home alone with the kids. The work of a stay-at-home mom is never done. I made sure I was careful in everything I did to continue letting my body heal without issues.
Thank goodness our one-year-old is a bit small for his size and wasn’t a brute to carry around, unlike my older son who is the size of a five-year-old! Being an (almost) three-year-old, he still likes to cuddle with mommy and be carried some, but I pushed him to keep doing things on his own, and be careful around mommy. This kid is very big for his age and doesn’t quite know his own strength, so it was a challenge, but we made it through!
The last day of antibiotics was rough, but it was my own fault. (Yes, I’m rolling my eyes at myself.) I had one morning pill left to take. I popped it in, swallowed it, and went about our morning routine getting the kids up and breakfast made. About that time I started feeling SOOO nauseous. Every other day I had taken my nightly pill right before bed, and the morning one after breakfast. Needless to say, I should have at least eaten some toast or a couple crackers before taking the Doxycycline. Gosh, was my morning long trying to deal with the kids and not get sick all over my house!
Don’t be like me and make this rookie mistake. You, too, will regret it.
The day after the procedure I had light bleeding and some cramping. I’ve always had AWFUL, heavy, painful menstrual cycles (thanks, endometriosis) so this really wasn’t too bad for me. I didn’t even take Tylenol for it. Though, I can see how this might cause a great deal of discomfort for some women, so keep the Tylenol and Ibuprofen handy!
I used a heating pad here and there and went about my day. The heating pad wasn’t even always necessary, and if I had to be out and about I could have done fine without it. But, since I was home, it was very nice to have and use for relief.
The following days I had more bleeding, which the nurse said was normal to have for a few days after stopping birth control pills. Again, this was still pretty light. The cramping did increase as the week went on but subsided after about 4-5 days. This could have been from either the hysteroscopy or from stopping birth control pills, or both.
Some Extra Helpful Tips
First of all, you will be taking an antibiotic for this procedure. Antibiotics are known to deplete the gut of both bad and good bacteria. Taking a quality probiotic alongside your antibiotic medication can help restore your gut of healthy bacteria. This is very balancing and helps heal your body more quickly of side effects your your antibiotic might cause, like diarrhea.
Here are a couple good options to
grab before your procedure:
Life9 combines 17 billion live cultures from nine beneficial bacteria strains. This high-potency probiotic helps promote healthy digestion, supports gut health, and helps maintain normal intestinal function for the overall support of a healthy immune system. It’s designed with targeted-release soft gel capsules and is recommended you take it right before bed and without any other supplements for optimum effectiveness.
Please note: once you open the bottle, these do need to be refrigerated.
MightyPro is another great probiotic
that is also a prebiotic. It’s designed for kids, but adults love it too! This
is a tasty powder (that tastes like candy!) that you just pour into your mouth
and let it dissolve.
MightyPro is formulated with Ningxia wolfberry fiber, a naturally occurring prebiotic. The wolfberry fiber passes through the gut and promotes healthy bacteria in the colon, helping make the most of the probiotic complex. These come in single serve packets and are easy to take on the go and you can pretty much take them any time of day. Since they come in individual packets, they do not need to be refrigerated.
To get a great deal on these products, you can become a member and take advantage of the incredible starter kit! You can simply add one of these probiotics to your order when you sign up!
You can learn more about the amazing benefits of the Ningxia wolfberry by visiting our Preparing For Conception post or heading to www.ningxiared.com.
Alright, ladies, spill it! What are your best tips for the hysteroscopy? Did you have a laparascopy? Tell us about your experience below!
Want a fun way to document your infertility journey? Check out our Infertility Journey Milestone cards you can print and use as photo props on your blog or to share your journey with friends and family on social media, or you can even print these and journal on the back for a special keepsake of all the special moments in your journey!