Investigations that may be recommended to obtain a diagnosis can include:
- a pelvic examination in the clinic
- Blood tests
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- PET scan
- Ultrasound scan +/- a biopsy - this is a procedure which involves examining a part of the body with an ultrasound machine. If a biopsy is required a needle is inserted through the skin to take away a small amount of tissue .
- Hysteroscopy - this is a procedure to examine the inside of the womb (uterus). It is carried out using a hysteroscope, which is a narrow tube with a telescope at the end. Images are sent to a computer in order to get a close up of the womb and takes between 10-20 minutes to do the test. Mild discomfort (similar to period pain) can occur but this should settle after a few hours. Hysteroscopies are often carried out in the out-patient department but if a general anaesthetic is required then this will be done as a day case operation.
- Colposcopy - this is a procedure to find out whether there are abnormal cells on the cervix (neck of the womb). It is usually carried out if there has been an abnormal smear. A microscope (colposcope) with a strong light is used to look at the cervix. The colposcope doesn’t enter the vagina and remains outside the body. Different liquids are dabbed onto the cervix to help identify any areas of abnormal cells. If an abnormal area is found then a small sample of tissue (biopsy) will be taken from the surface of the cervix. A biopsy is about the size of a pinhead. It can cause slight stinging and it should not be painful. The procedure is usually carried out in the out-patient department, while you are awake
- Examination Under Anaesthetic (EUA) - this is a day case operation where examination of the vagina, cervix and occasionally the bladder are carried out under a general anaesthetic . Biopsies may be taken from these areas.