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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.


Response from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust last month
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Submitted on 07/05/2021 at 09:32
Published on Care Opinion at 10:35

Thank you for your feedback. We were sorry to learn that your experience in the Hysteroscopy Service at Saint Mary's Hospital was a painful experience for you. I have discussed your concerns with one of our Nurse Hysteroscopist who was very sorry to hear of your poor experience. The service provides an information leaflet which you should have received with your appointment letter which advises women to take pain relief prior to their appointment. On your arrival, it would be the normal practice of the Specialist Nurse to take a history and counsel her patient, to advise that the experience can be painful for some women and that the procedure would be stopped immediately at the patients request. Gas and air (Entonox) is available for women as an alternative pain relief but a safety checklist is completed prior to its use, as it is not suitable for everyone.

The Specialist Nurse will share your experience with both the medical team and the Nurses to ensure that an honest approach is used, and care is used when describing the process and the level of discomfort or pain each different woman might experience.

It is challenging to respond to all posts in a full way often because of a lack of detailed information, therefore if you would like to discuss your experience with us in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0161 276 8686, referencing PO21/0010 or by e-mailing And we will put you in contact with a senior member of the team to discuss your concerns.

The Trust has introduced a behavioural framework within which all members of the nursing and medical teams' practice, so it was disappointing to read that you found your experience has been a negative one. I can assure you that we have passed on your feedback to Dr Rohna Kearney, Clinical Head of Division for Gynaecology, Ms Emily Hoyle Divisional Director for Gynaecology and Mrs Cath Bartlett, Head of Nursing who will to share your feedback with the wider team.

Karen Connolly

Chief Executive Officer

Saint Mary's Hospital Managed Clinical Services.

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