Dilation and curettage can diagnose or treat a uterine condition.
To diagnose a condition
Your doctor might recommend a type of D&C called endometrial sampling to diagnose a condition if:
- You have abnormal uterine bleeding
- You experience bleeding after menopause
- Your doctor discovers abnormal endometrial cells during a routine test for cervical cancer
To perform the test, your doctor collects a tissue sample from the lining of your uterus (endometrium) and sends the sample to a lab for testing. The test can check for:
- Endometrial hyperplasia — a precancerous condition in which the uterine lining becomes too thick
- Uterine polyps
- Uterine cancer
To treat a condition
When performing a therapeutic D&C, your doctor removes the contents from inside your uterus, not just a small tissue sample. Your doctor may do this to:
- Clear out tissues that remain in the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion to prevent infection or heavy bleeding
- Remove a molar pregnancy, in which a tumor forms instead of a normal pregnancy
- Treat excessive bleeding after delivery by clearing out any placenta that remains in the uterus
- Remove cervical or uterine polyps, which are usually noncancerous (benign)
Your doctor may perform the D&C along with another procedure called a hysteroscopy. During a hysteroscopy, your doctor inserts a slim instrument with a light and camera on the end into your vagina, through your cervix and up into your uterus.
Your doctor then views the lining of your uterus on a screen, noting any areas that look abnormal, making sure there aren't any polyps and taking tissue samples as needed. During a hysteroscopy, your doctor can also remove uterine polyps and fibroid tumors.