All You Need to Know About Dilation & Curettage (D & C)Dr Aparna N
Dilation & Curettage is a procedure used to remove unwanted tissues from the uterus. This helps to diagnose and treat uterine conditions, including heavy bleeding and also allows to clear the uterine lining after undergoing an abortion or miscarriage. Generally, the doctor uses tiny instruments to dilate the cervix and sharp surgical instruments or suction devices to remove the uterine tissue.
Who should undergo a Dilation & Curettage (D&C)?
A doctor may recommend you undergo D & C for various reasons. In some cases, the uterine lining may be sent for further testing to diagnose better. Some of the common causes of D & C include:
• Diagnosing heavy or abnormal bleeding during or between periods
• Heavy uterine bleeding
• Post-menopausal bleeding
• Clearing of the uterine cavity after an abortion or miscarriage
• Clearing of the placental tissues after giving birth
• Removal of uterine or cervical polyps
Sometimes, a specialist and a D & C may recommend a hysteroscopy. In this procedure, a camera with a light attached is allowed inside the uterus to help the doctor visualise the interior view for diagnostic purposes.
Dilation & Curettage is a simple surgical procedure that causes mild discomfort and pain. Doctors usually recommend it after a miscarriage as it helps to reduce the risk of infections, discomfort and other complications that may arise after an abortion/miscarriage. This procedure is beneficial also for the doctors to get a sample of endometrial cells which can be used for other tests or biopsies that may help with a better diagnosis.
• D & C is considered to be a safer procedure. However, a couple of risks are associated with this, which include:
• Excess bleeding can occur as a consequence of D&C. This happens if the uterine lining is pricked during the procedure.
• Due to cervical dilation, there is more risk of infections, and doctors may recommend abstaining from having intercourse and using tampons for a few days.
• In unusual cases, scar tissue forms over the lining of the uterus after D&C. This is called Asherman’s syndrome and can lead to infertility.
• Allergic reaction to the anaesthesia is another possible risk after a D&C.
What to expect after a D & C?
Dilation & Curettage is an outpatient procedure. You may feel exhausted and experience nausea or vomiting. You can resume daily activities within a few days, although you may have mild spotting and cramping. It’s important to eat healthily, rest well and especially avoid sex and the usage of tampons until your doctor says, OK. Always approach your doctor immediately if you notice any severe discomfort or pain.
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