When A Vulvar or Endometrial Biopsy is Needed
Hearing the word “biopsy” can raise stress levels instantly. Do I have…? What if I have…? What about my spouse/kids/parents? Will I be able to keep my job?
Whoa, Nelly. Let’s take this one step at a time. A biopsy is diagnostic. It does not mean you have…cancer. A biopsy is, however, a first step to determine whether you might have medical issues which need addressing. In this article, we will focus on two female-particular biopsies — vulvar and endometrial.
A biopsy is not just for the post-menopausal — in fact, a biopsy is sometimes even prescribed for twenty-somethings. But age notwithstanding, it’s still a bit daunting to have to go through a biopsy.
In both vulvar and endometrial biopsies, a tissue sample is taken for sending to the lab. Below, we further outline the procedures for both biopsies.
A vulvar biopsy is taken in the area of the vulva, which is anywhere on the external female genitalia, such as the outer and inner lips of the vagina, the vagina entry-point, or the perineum.
A vulvar biopsy is indicated for any of these reasons:
- Abnormal skin appearance
- To determine appropriate treatment of a skin condition, such as Lichen Sclerosis, Lichen Simplex Chronicus, or Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) (high-grade squamous lesions).
- To assess a skin tag to diagnose possible molluscom or condyloma
- To determine if cancer is present
After the procedure, we recommend you use a triple antibiotic ointment, and to be aware of any signs of an infection (fever, swollen or bright red area, or general malaise.) You may also benefit from using a peri bottle with warm water after urination.
We perform an endometrial biopsy for the following conditions:
- Post-menopausal bleeding
- Suspected endometrial polyp (although a saline sonogram is often performed instead).
- Thickened endometrium
- For infertility assessment (rarely performed anymore).
An endometrial biopsy is not usually performed during your period. After the procedure, you may have spotting for a few days, possibly varying in color from bright red to brown. Your provider might also advise you to abstain from sexual intercourse for a week.
You will be notified about an endometrial or vulvar biopsy within 5 days of your examination appointment. Your doctor will address your specific needs, and discuss how you might sharpen your health overall.
No one longs for a biopsy — but thankfully, if you do need one, you can determine any needs for further treatment as early as possible. Contact us for further information — as usual we are here to help you with any concerns you may have.
Originally published at www.miamiobgyns.com on August 22, 2016.