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Uterine Biopsy - Will It Hurt?

Alberta, Canada

Last Update:  12 October 2005


You bet it will!  That's why I've written this article!  Although I looked all over the net beforehand and saw a few articles that were a "bit" truthful, I never saw one that described the whole procedure from beginning to end, so I thought I would write the first.

This article is written from a non-medical perspective, so I will be as graphic and honest as I can from a patient's viewpoint.

"Will it hurt?"  I asked the receptionist.

Even though she had seen many such patients, she didn't know (or pretended she didn't).

On my first visit there was a medical student assisting the gynecologist.  When the medical student came in I asked again.

"Well, it's bearable," she answered.

Foolishly I interpreted the word "bearable" to mean it was tolerable to pretty well everyone.  I suppose that even getting your toe cut off could be considered bearable to some.  The word can mean anything.   Although I could only describe the pain to being equivalent to having your toe cut off without anaesthetic, I don't think any doctor would attempt to amputate a toe in that manner, so why would they do such painful things to women? 

If you've ever had an operation on your foot, you would realize that the foot also, is one of the most sensitive parts on your body. They don't give you painkillers before putting several needles between toes either.   Sometimes I get the feeling they actually enjoy watching patients squeeze the blood out of their fingers as they grip the sides of the mattress.  They don't even put metal bars or anything on the sides of the bed these days, so it's hard for patients to find things to grip on to easily.

Had I known beforehand, I would've taken painkilling drugs before leaving the house.

Unsuspectingly I went to lie down to undergo the procedure by the assisting medical student.

When the gynecologist told me to hold her hand if I felt pain, I knew I was in for trouble, even though she told me I might only experience slight cramping.  Believe me, you don't need to hold someone's hand for slight cramping!

The first thing the medical student noticed was that things were different than normal, so the gynecologist mentioned that the needle had to be bent somewhat.

At one point they told me they had to put clamps on my cervix to keep it from escaping because it tends to slip away when you're about to do things to the inside.    Ow!!!!  If you think the insides of you have no feeling, try taking a pair of pliers and testing it out for 10 minutes!

To my horror, that was the gentle part.  What was to follow was very much like I had heard abortions being described.  

The first thing they did was take out a great big needle.   It was long and looked kind of like an oil dipstick that goes into your car but it was about half the width.  It had a sharp end on it and some measuring lines.   When they stuck it in, I darn near died!  It was like a knife going inside both from the bottom and into my navel at the same time.  It felt like if they had literally poked a hole into a very sensitive part of my body with a fat knitting needle without any anaesthetic at all!  I don't know if they used anaesthetic inside or not.  They never told me they did, and it sure didn't feel like it!

Then they pulled the needle out and it had about four inches of blood on it -- just like an oil dipstick looks when it's pulled out of a car.

After that, they used some long tool with a suction device on it.  I didn't get a good look at this tool, but this hurt even more! Now, it felt like not only a knife was going into the bottom of me, but also that someone was twisting one in my navel at the same time, over and over again, while sticking one also into each side of my abdomen at the same time.  The pain was so intense that I started to sweat profusely and did all I could to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs.

I was no longer holding the gynecologist's hand at this point.   I was pushing down on my abdomen as hard as I could to try to stop both the pain and tears. 

To make matters even worse, they didn't take enough sample the first time, so I had to undergo another few minutes of the same thing a second time!    If they didn't get enough the first time, the entire test would be useless and I would've gone there for nothing.   At that point, I really had a tough time deciding on whether I would prefer to die from cancer (if it should be there) or undergo the second scraping.

The pain of the whole ordeal was so intense I thought I would die of a heart attack.  (I guess that's why they checked my heart before they even started.)   The scraper felt like like a sharp object with glass or sandpaper on the end of it.  It felt like they were continually turning it to rip out the shreds of tissue which they then put into a small container.  My teeth were clamped together so tightly I don't think I could've screamed if I tried.

It kills me to think of what poor helpless animals must tolerate in experiments if they do such horrid things to humans.   Doctors seem to think that if you're not a screamer and your body is only wrenched up, you somehow suffer from less pain than most.

Finally the whole procedure (about 15 minutes which felt like 40) was finished.  Fortunately I had brought a mini pad along to catch the blood afterward, and now I could go home.  They suggested I lie there for a few minutes to recover before leaving, but there was no way I was going to do that.   In spite of the fact that I had a 30-minute drive on the highway after that, I ran out of there like a bat out of hell.

For the next several hours I didn't have a lot of pain below, but did have quite a bit of pain in the lower abdomen on each side.  It was comparable to the most severe period cramps I ever had.  When I got home I was bleeding so heavily I had to switch to a maxi pad.  I had sweat so much that afternoon from the shocking trauma of both the method and the pain that I took two Tylenol 3's and went to bed exhausted, but I did wake up extremely thirsty several times throughout the night and had to get up to replace the fluid lost from the original sweat.

After that I bled quite heavily and had to wear maxi pads for seven days.  Every time I got up in the morning, or bent a certain way during the day, I would get a kind of popping, slightly hurting feeling.   Then I would go to the bathroom to see what happened and tiny red pieces of torn tissue would come out with the urine, and the bleeding would become heavy for the next four or five hours.  I have to admit that I often felt that my entire insides had been so violently shred up that if I didn't have cancer then, I would surely develop it later as a result of severe mutilation.

Why do doctors put women through such pain?  Possibly it may hurt younger women less, but this pain was greater than anything I have ever experienced in my life.   Even giving birth to a baby weighing 9-1/2 pounds (who badly tore my skin open) was gentle compared. 

I wouldn't advise that any woman have this test done without being put to sleep.  Recently I spoke to another woman who had undergone the same thing and she agreed with me totally, saying also that it was the most painful thing she too had ever experienced.

When doctors know patients will undergo a fair bit of pain before a procedure, why don't they, at the very least, offer the patient a very strong painkilling pill beforehand?  Even if there is only a 10% chance that the patient will experience pain to such a degree, would that be too much to ask?    Couldn't they at least tell the patient to take two or three painkilling pills herself before coming to the office?   What prevents them from doing this?    Lack of concern?  Sadism?  While I realize some painkilling pills may cause extra bleeding, surely there must be pills available that do not.

While dentists are increasingly working on methods to decrease tooth pain, it seems doctors are increasingly moving in the other direction.   Why is so much suffering necessary when anesthetics and painkillers are so readily available?

Ladies, please don't think I'm writing this to scare you or discourage you.  If you've been recommended for the test, it's likely necessary.   Few sites may describe this test in the same way for fear of scaring you off.   Nevertheless, it's best to know what others have experienced, if only to prepare yourself to NEVER accept such an operation while conscious unless you are sure you can deal with an incredible amount of pain.

I hope people will write articles similar to this for other painful medical procedures as well.   There's no point asking doctors if something will hurt because that just puts them on the spot.  No doctor wants to tell you they're about to inflict some of the greatest pain you've ever experienced.

It's better to be prepared ahead of time for something will hurt a great deal so you can take measures to prevent pain ahead of time,   if doctors won't do anything to relieve the pain.   Then, the worst that can happen (as far as I see it) is that you will be pleasantly surprised if you are one of the lucky ones who gets away with less pain.  I do have to warn you though, that a couple of regular aspirins wouldn't be strong enough.

In the event that this painkilling suggestion is knocked down by several doctors for good reason I will update this article, so check back again and hit your REFRESH or RELOAD screen to get the latest update before going through the test.


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