What is HSG, and why is this test important?
A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a procedure which tests for blockage anywhere along the reproductive tract. For example, obstruction of the fallopian tubes (from conditions such as scar tissue, endometriosis, or fibroids) may be detected with HSG. Defects in the lining of the uterus (from adhesions, fibroids, malformations, or polyps) which prevent implantation and cause miscarriage may also be detected using this procedure.
The test is performed in the first half of the reproductive cycle (after your period has ended, but prior to ovulation, usually between day 5-12) to ensure that you are not pregnant at the time of the procedure. One of our staff members will perform the procedure, along with a radiologist who takes pictures, and another nurse assistant to assist you.
Does the procedure hurt?
You will lie on a table and a speculum is placed, just as with any pelvic exam. A small catheter is placed into the lowest part of the uterus, and a small amount of contrast material (dye) is placed. You will probably feel a cramp when the catheter is placed, and some pressure later on, especially if a blockage is present.
We perform many HSGs, and use the smallest and most painless equipment available. In the "old days," large metal catheters and clamps were routinely used, and they used to produce significant discomfort. Please be very assured that at CT Fertility we do everything possible to perform a painless procedure. Some patients choose to take two Motrin or Advil one hour prior to their HSG to minimize the cramping.
Are special precautions or preparations required?
No. Except for the Motrin, other medications are rarely needed. You are welcome to bring someone with you to the procedure, but most patients come alone. You can eat prior to and after the procedure. An HSG usually takes less than fifteen minutes, and patients are generally discharged within fifteen minutes of that and return to their normal activities of the day.
You may need to wear a sanitary pad for light bleeding or discharge, as some dye leaks out. Most of the dye inside your body is safely absorbed within hours.
The only very rare complication from this procedure is infection, so if you develop a temperature within one week of the procedure (greater than 100 degrees), call us immediately, and we will determine the need for further testing and antibiotics.