A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a test that examines the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Having a blocked fallopian tube or a growth in the uterus can reduce chances for pregnancy. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, the sperm can’t reach the egg. A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a test that uses x-rays and a special dye to detect scar tissue, polyps, fibroids, and other growths that may be blocking the tubes or preventing a fertilized egg from implanting properly in the uterus. Another test, called a sonohysterogram, uses ultrasound and a sterile saline to detect abnormalities inside the uterus. However, the sonohysterogram cannot be used to detect blocked fallopian tubes.
The HSG is done using fluoroscopy (x-rays)and takes between 10 and 30 minutes to perform. The doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina (like when you have a Pap smear), and then place a thin plastic tube inside your cervix that will lead to your uterus and fallopian tubes. A special dye will be injected through the plastic tube. The dye then enters the uterus and tubes. The HSG is not designed to evaluate the ovaries or diagnose endometriosis. Frequently, side views of the uterus and tubes are obtained by having the patient change her position on the table. After the HSG, a patient can immediately resume normal activities, although some physicians ask that the patient refrain form intercourse for a few days.
- Infection— The most common serious problem with HSG is pelvic infection. This usually occurs in the presence of previous tubal disease. In rare cases, infection can damage the fallopian tubes or necessitate their removal. A woman should call her doctor if she experiences increasing pain or a fever within one to two days of the HSG.
- Iodine allergy— Rarely, a patient may have an allergy to the iodine contrast used in an HSG. A patient should inform her doctor if she is allergic to iodine or seafood. Non-iodine contrasts are available for allergic patients. If a patient is experiencing a rash, itching, or swelling after the procedure, she should contact her doctor.
- Spotting— Spotting commonly occurs for one or two days after the HSG. A patient should notify her doctor if she experiences heavy bleeding after the HSG.