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"Painful Hysteroscopy"

About: St Mary's Hospital / Gynaecology

(as a service user),

I have recently had a hysteroscopy at St Mary's Hospital. I was referred for one following some baseline fertility tests which showed up some lumps on the lining of my uterus which needed to be checked to ensure they weren't sinister. I waited 3 months for my appointment, and was very anxious beforehand due to having experienced pain during smear tests and also during sex.

I called the department 3 times before the appointment to ask to discuss pain relief. Each person told me they did not provide pain relief, but that if I found the procedure too painful at any point  I could stop and re-book for a general anaesthetic. I can't comprehend why I would wait 3 months to find out if I have sinister lumps in my womb to then stop a procedure due to pain then wait another 3 months minimum for the next appointment. That would be 6 months of waiting to know the results, and I would still have had to have experienced extreme pain.

I was told most women find it bearable and that it is a quick procedure. On the day I asked if I could have any gas and air and explained my history and worries. I was told there would be no need for gas and air and that it varies woman to woman but if I want to stop at any time I could. 

The procedure itself is by far the most pain I have ever experienced. The insertion and use of the camera was agony and I was in floods of tears and hyperventilating. I understand that I was given the option to stop, but really at that point I wanted to know that nothing was wrong. They then told me they would need to take a sample of the lining of my womb and warned that it would feel like a bit of a scratch. I can't understand how that word could be applied because what it felt like was searing pain. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. When it was over I was told that they would have to repeat the process because they didn't have enough of a sample. That was the worst part, going through that pain and knowing I would have to experience it again. I was beside myself. I was told I could stop, but again at that point when they had nearly finished why would I stop and wait another 3 months. 

I left that appointment in floods of tears, in so much pain and feeling so distressed. More than anything I was angry that anyone would be expected to endure that without pain relief, and even angrier that I was denied when I asked for it. 

I feel that women should be able to discuss their case and history with a consultant or professional beforehand and a decision should be given to them as to whether or not they want pain relief. If women ask for that in advance they should not be told no. I think its a disgrace, and while there may be some very lucky women who don't find that painful its not okay to use the words 'scratch' and 'discomfort' to prepare women, if there is a chance that what they might experience is severe pain. I was not informed or prepared as a woman and you made me take the risk of feeling that pain with no option to reduce anxiety and pain all together. I think this needs urgent attention.

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