How to prepare for an HSG procedure

If you are taking an Hysterosalpingogram test (HSG) for the first time, it is understandable that you may be feeling nervous or have apprehensions. Knowing the procedure of an HSG test will help alleviate your apprehensions and help you prepare better.

Why is an HSG needed?

After ovulation, a current in your body pushes the egg into the fallopian tubes where the sperm and egg meet and fertilization occurs. When an egg is fertilized, an embryo develops and continues through the fallopian tubes until it reaches the uterus where it implants itself into the uterine lining.

In cases where women have difficulty in conceiving, an HSG test procedure is an excellent tool that helps doctors confirm if the fallopian tubes are open and also if the uterus has a normal shape. This procedure also helps ensure that the cavity is not affected by polyps, scar tissue or fibroids.

When to plan an HSG?

The ideal time to schedule an HSG test is between days 5-12 of your menstrual cycle.

What to expect during an HSG?

The actual procedure takes only 5 minutes or so. However, you will be asked to be present 30 minutes prior to the procedure and may be asked to stay for 30-45 minutes after the procedure.

Before starting out with the HSG procedure, you will be asked to submit a sample of urine. This is to make sure that you are not unknowingly pregnant. This is important because the dye used to fill the uterus could harm or displace the growing foetus, thusincreasing the risk of a miscarriage.

You will be asked to lie flat on an examination table and a speculum will be inserted into your vagina in order to view the cervix. The cervix will then be cleaned with an antiseptic lotion. Next, a thin, plastic catheter is placed inside the cervix. Once placed, a small quantity of contrast dye will be passed through the catheter into the cervix, filling the fallopian tubes and uterus. As the dye fills and travels to the tubes, a special kind of x-ray imaging called fluoroscopy is used to create a ‘live’ x-ray. If the dye is seen to move completely along the length of the tube, spilling dye on the other side, the tubes are considered open. Immediately after the test, the technician will provide preliminary results and the images will be sent to your doctors along with the technician’s findings.

What to expect after an HSG procedure?

It is common to experience some pain or discomfort, feel crampy or achy and experience some vaginal spotting and/or watery discharge. It is recommended that you use sanitary napkins or pads rather than tampons for the spotting. If you are anxious about the pain, seek your doctor’s advice on getting some pain medication. You can take pain medication 30-60 minutes ahead of the procedure. Ideally, you will be able to resume your day’s activities after the procedure. It is advisable to abstain from sexual intercourse until the spotting/discharge completely stops, 1-2 days after the HSG test.

These are some of the steps you can take to effectively prepare for an HSG procedure. An HSG is a beneficial method that helps your doctor determine the best path to assist you on your journey to successful reproduction.

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