The goal of HSG
The HSG test allows a doctor to get a view of the uterus and fallopian tubes. The test can confirm if the shape of the uterus is standard or detect the presence of fibroids, polyps, or scarring. A blocked fallopian tube prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg. Blockages in the uterus also prevent the embryo from implanting successfully.
It’s time to start the test
The HSG test is a quick, outpatient procedure at a radiology lab. The radiologist uses a combination of X-rays and a special dye to get a full view of the reproductive organs’ shape. With the patient lying down, the doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina and cleans the cervix. From there, a thin plastic tube goes inside the cervix that releases the contact dye. The dye fills the uterus and fallopian tubes. If there is no blockage, the dye should spill out on either side. This will be confirmed on the X-ray results.
What to expect during your HSG
There are a few things all women should know about HSG tests. In most cases, the test happens after the period but before ovulation. Both doctor and patient will work together to find the optimal time for the test. During the test, some women report cramping and discomfort. This pain usually happens when the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. Taking over-the-counter pain medication before the procedure helps. The doctor will advise if this is possible. The radiologist will take images of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Possible risks with hysterosalpingography
With any procedure, there are some risks. Besides discomfort, an infection can happen, most commonly if there was a previous infection. Before and after the procedure, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Some women report vaginal bleeding 1-2 days after the test. For those concerned about the contact dye, the dye is harmless and consists mainly of iodine. The iodine gets absorbed by the bloodstream after leaving the fallopian tubes. However, the patient should inform the doctor of any iodine or contact dye allergies.
Your next steps after an HSG test
A hysterosalpingography or HSG test is an effective step in determining the cause of infertility. If the doctor confirms a blockage, steps can be taken to increase the chances of pregnancy. These steps include laparoscopic surgery to remove any blockages. In some cases, the patient will benefit from reproductive techniques like IVF. If a doctor suggests an HSG test, make sure to ask more questions about the benefits and risks involved.
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