HSG Test – An overview

A hysterosalpingogram test is a fertility test for women, in which the doctor analyses the insides of the uterus and the fallopian tube through an X-ray. The aim of this fertility test is to identify if the fallopian tubes are blocked. Through the HSG test the doctor can also examine where exactly the blockage is- is it at the junction of the uterus and the fallopian tube or is it at the other end of the fallopian tube.

To describe the test in a nutshell, the doctor first injects a radiographic dye in the uterine cavity through the cervix and vagina. If the dye overflows into the abdominal cavity, it is an indication that the tubes are blocked; on the other hand if the dye fills the uterine cavity it means that the tubes are open.

What should you expect during a hysterosalpingogram test?

  • Approximately, the doctor takes about 5 minutes to conduct this test. However, because this test is performed in the radiology department of the hospital, you will take more time to fill out forms and complete other formalities.
  • You will have to maintain a certain position while the doctor performs the examination. You will have to lie on your back and keep your legs in a ‘frog position’.
  • To inject the dye into the uterine cavity, a thin catheter is put at the cervical opening or the doctor places a tenaculum at the cervical opening, and through it a thin metal cannula is inserted.
  • The radiographic dye enters the uterine cavity through the cannula or the catheter. The ‘fill and spill’ procedure is followed, i.e., more contrast is injected so that the fallopian tubes are filled and excess dye is spilled into the abdominal cavity. Throughout the procedure X-ray pictures are taken.
  • Furthermore, once the ‘fill and spill’ technique is performed you will be asked to change from the “frog leg” position and roll slightly on one side. The doctor usually asks this of you so that the X-ray image is obtained at an angle.
  • The HSG test is complete once the X-ray images are captured during the ‘fill and spill’. Procedural instruments like the cannula are then disconnected from the vagina.
  • You are allowed to lie on the table to recuperate from the insertions and the cramps and pain.
  • You can see the results instantaneously after the procedure is performed and discuss your condition with the doctor.

Complication

Side effects of an HSG test could be an allergic reaction to the dye. Pelvic infection or uterine perforation is a possibility, because of the insertion of procedural instruments. In case any patient has a history of sexually transmitted diseases, the doctor prescribes some medication before the test.

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