Quantifying procedural pain associated with office gynecologic tract sampling methods

Madhu Bagaria, Nicolas Wentzensen, Megan Clarke, Matthew R. Hopkins, Lisa J. Ahlberg, Lois J. Mc Guire, Maureen A. Lemens, Amy L. Weaver, Ann VanOosten, Emily Shields, Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, Mark E. Sherman, Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Emerging technologies may enable detection of endometrial cancer with methods that are less invasive than standard biopsy methods. This study compares patient pain scores among 3 office gynecologic tract sampling methods and explores their potential determinants. Methods: A prospective study including 3 sampling methods (tampon, Tao brush (TB), endometrial biopsy (EB)) was conducted between December 2015 and August 2017 and included women ≥45 years of age presenting with abnormal uterine bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, or thickened endometrial stripe. Patients rated pain after each sampling procedure using a 100-point visual analog scale (VAS). Results: Of 428 enrolled, 190 (44.39%) patients underwent all 3 sampling methods and reported a VAS score for each. Nearly half were postmenopausal (n = 93, 48.9%); the majority were parous (172, 90.5%) of which 87.8% had at least one vaginal delivery. Among the 190 patients, the median (IQR) pain score was significantly lower for sampling via tampon (0 [0,2]) compared to TB (28 [12, 52]) or EB (32 [15, 60]) (both p < 0.001, Wilcoxon signed rank test). Among women who underwent tampon sampling, age and pain scores showed a weak positive correlation (Spearman rank correlation, r = 0.14; p = 0.006); EB sampling was associated with a weak inverse correlation between parity and pain scores (r = −0.14; p = 0.016). Conclusion: Gynecologic tract sampling using a tampon had significantly lower pain than both EB and TB. Pain with tampon sampling was positively correlated with age and pain with EB sampling was inversely correlated with parity. Pain scores for TB and EB were not significantly related to age, menopausal status, or BMI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-133
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Endometrial biopsy
  • Postmenopausal bleeding
  • Procedural pain
  • Tampon
  • Tao brush

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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