In a prospective open study the sterility of the uterine cavity was evaluated in 99 women admitted for hysterectomy. The indications for hysterectomy were in most cases persistent irregular vaginal bleeding and fibromyomas of the uterus. Samples for both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, yeasts and viruses were taken preoperatively from the apex of the vagina and cervical os. Immediately after hysterectomy the uterus was opened under sterile conditions and samples obtained from the isthmus and fundus of the uterine cavity for microbiological examination. Wet smears were taken from the same sites. Nearly a quarter of all the patients harbored one or more microorganisms in the uterus, mostly Gardnerella vaginalis, Enterobacter and Streptococcus agalactiae. We found that in a significant number of cases, the uterine cavity is colonized with potentially pathogenic organisms which may play a causative role in endometritis. The results indicate that inflammation of the uterine cavity should be evaluated by hysteroscopic examination before hysterectomy is undertaken in patients with persistent irregular vaginal bleeding.