(Dilatation and Curettage)
is a D&C?
A D&C is a procedure in which the lining of
the womb (uterus), also known as the endometrium, is scraped away.
is the purpose of a D&C?
There are a number of reasons why a woman might
need a D&C:
- To obtain tissue from the womb in order to check
- To diagnose and sometimes treat endometrial
polyps and fibroids in the womb. (The polyps or fibroids may be scraped away
during the procedure.)
- To investigate the reason for heavy or irregular
menstrual periods or vaginal bleeding after the menopause.
- To remove pregnancy tissue after childbirth
or a miscarriage.
happens during a D&C?
A D&C is usually carried out under general
During a D&C, the doctor inserts a speculum
to separate and hold open the vaginal walls. (A speculum is a metal instrument
inserted into and holding open a cavity of the body such as the vagina, so that
the interior can be examined.)
The doctor then stretches open the cervix (neck
of the womb) with a dilator. When the cervix is dilated, a curette is inserted
into the womb. (A curette is a spoon-shaped instrument that is used to scrape
away parts of the womb lining.)
long does recovery take?
Recovery is very speedy and there are no side-effects
to having your womb scraped. Most women can go home on the day of their operation.
Rest is recommended after a D&C but most women
can go back to work within a day or two.
Some women bleed a small bit after a D&C. This
is normal, however if there is heavy bleeding go to your doctor immediately.
Some backache or mild cramping is not unusual, however if the pain is bad, go
to your doctor.
Women who have a D&C should avoid sexual intercourse
and the use of tampons for at least two weeks. This allowstime for healing.
It also helps to prevent infection while the cervix is closing. Signs of an
- Heavy bleeding.
- Severe pain or cramps.
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a
doctor immediately. It is important that an infection be treated promptly to
ensure it does not spread or cause damage.
there alternatives to D&C?
New techniques for examining the endometrium are
now available and may be used instead of the D&C. One of these is endometrial
ablation where a telescopic instrument can be inserted into the womb to remove
to top of page