This procedure is relatively simple. However, to make this test as comfortable and useful as possible, we want you to have the following information.

An ENDOMETRIAL BIOPSY takes a sample from the tissue which lines the uterus (womb). This tissue is then examined under the pathologist’s microscope in order to assist in making a diagnosis and to check for cancer. The sample is taken by means of a thin tube about the size of a ball-point pen refill which is passed into the uterine cavity through the cervix. A small amount of tissue from each portion of the uterus is then sampled by a gentle scraping technique. The procedure is similar to a Pap smear and will take approximately 10-20 minutes. In the “old days”, women would often have a “D and C”. The endometrial biopsy replaces this.

The following is important to help provide the best results.

1. TIMING OF THE TEST IS CRITICAL. The best time to perform an endometrial biopsy is just before your menstrual period. Thus, your appointment should be made during the week before your period. If your periods are unpredictable, the biopsy can usually be performed if it has been at least 3 weeks since your last period. Your appointment needs to be cancelled if your period begins, but please reschedule.


2. The discomfort during the test is mild. If you can, take three 200 mg ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin or Motrin) an hour before your appointment. This should make you more comfortable. Please let us know if you think a stronger medication is needed. If we suggested something else when we talked, then follow those directions.

3. You should be able to drive yourself to and from the office and return to work immediately. Other than the minor cramping when we do the procedure, there are essentially no side effects.

4. You may have a small amount of spotting afterwards which disappears within 1-2 days. Cramping, similar to menstrual cramps, is uncommon but may be treated with ibuprofen. Tylenol may be taken by those who cannot tolerate ibuprofen.

Significant complications from an endometrial biopsy are extremely rare, but, as with any minor surgery, they are always a possibility. The possible complications would be bleeding, infections, and uterine perforation (causing a small hole in the uterus). If you experience pelvic pain for more than 24 hours, excessive bleeding, or begin running a temperature after the procedure, please call our office. It is possible that the abnormal area will be missed when the biopsy is done. If your symptoms persist, call the doctor.

Republished with the permission of John L. Pfenninger, M.D. –