Fertility testing can often be a daunting procedure. Many couples stuggling with fertility issues have to undergo dozens of tests in order to find out what is at the bottom of their infertility. A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a very common fertility test that most women struggling with infertility will undergo. The hysterosalpingogram can help to pinpoint specific fertility problems and may help you to decide on an appropriate treatment.
What is a Hysterosalpingogram?
A hysterosalpingogram is a fertility test used to detect uterine and fallopain health. The HSG test uses x-ray technology to create a picture of the uterus and fallopian tubes. When you undergo an HSG test, colored dye is injected into you uterus. This dye then travels up through the fallopian tubes and out into the abdominal cavity. The HSG allows your health care provider to determine if there is any damage to your reproductive system.
What Can a Hysterosalpigogram Detect?
Generally, the HSG fertility test is used to detect abnormalities in your uterus or fallopian tubes. The HSG dye will indicate any damage or blockages in your fallopian tubes. The dye will also highlight the shape of your uterus. However, an HSG test can sometimes also indicate:
- uterine fibroids
- uterine polyps
- adhesions or scar tissue
Who Needs a Hysterosalpingogram?
An HSG test is offered to every woman seeking fertility treatment at a fertility clinic. The HSG test helps to determine overall uterine health and is an excellent way of pinpointing fertility difficulties. Every woman seeking help in becoming pregnant should have an HSG exam.
Hysterosalpingogram and Fertility
Besides being able to detect uterine and tubal abnormalities, the HSG test has also been shown to increase pregnancy rates in some women. The HSG test sometimes helps to clear fallopian tubes of debris or blockages. This can enable some women with fertility issues to become pregnant.
The Hysterosalpingogram Procedure
The HSG procedure is typically performed in the radiology department of you local hospital. It is an outpatient procedure, which means that you will be able to go home immediately following the test. The procedure itself is relatively quick - it only takes about five minutes to actually perform - however, you may be asked to answer some questions before the HSG test begins. The HSG procedure is performed as follows:
After the Hysterosalpingogram
After the last x-rays have been taken, you will be asked to remain lying down for a few minutes. You may notice some light abdominal cramping. After a few minutes, you can get dressed. Your test results will likely be available immediately after the procedure.
Complications of a Hysterosalpingogram
As with any diagnostic procedure, there are some complications associated with the HSG test. However, complications are rare, occuring in only 1% of all patients. Possible complications include:
- uterine infection
- iodine dye allergy
Your health care provider will sit down with you to explain the results of your HSG test. Normal results will show no blockages in your fallopian tubes and and a uterus that is of natural size and shape. Abnormal results could show one or more blockages in your fallopian tubes, uterine adhesions, or an unusual uterine shape.
After the Hysterosalpingogram
If your HSG test results come back normal, this means that there is no detectable problem with your uterus or fallopian tubes. Further testing may be required to determine where your fertility issues stem from.
If your HSG results come back abnormal, this means that there is some sort of problem with your uterus or fallopian tubes. Treatment will depend on the specific problem that your health care provider detects.