An endometrial biopsy is a procedure done to obtain a tissue sample of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. Examination of the tissue under a microscope enables doctors to find and identify abnormal cells and the effects of hormones on the endometrium, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library.
The doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina to view the cervix. After the cervix is cleaned, the doctor uses an instrument to steady the uterus, while another instrument may be needed to stretch the cervical opening. A catheter, which is inserted through the cervical opening, is used to collect the tissue sample. The procedure can be done with or without anesthesia, according to MedlinePlus. The test is conducted to find the causes of abnormal menstruation or bleeding after menopause or to test for endometrial cancer. It is also used to check for uterine infections such as endometritis.
Abnormal results can indicate the presence of uterine fibroids, uterine polyps, infection, hormone imbalance or precancer. Complications that can result from an endometrial biopsy include pelvic infection, perforation in the uterus, prolonged bleeding and mild cramping. Factors such as cervical cancer and infection or acute pelvic inflammatory disease can interfere with an endometrial biopsy, so women with these conditions should discuss the risks with their doctor, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library.