Hysterosalpingography, or HSG, is a type of X-ray that looks at the inside of a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes. It uses a dye that makes these structures appear clearly on xray photos. This can allow doctors to identify abnormalities preventing you form becoming pregnant.
The hysterosalpingogram is a diagnostic tool used to diagnose causes of infertility. These include blocked fallopian tubs, structural defects inside the uterus, as well as miscarriages that are caused by adhesions and scarring around or near the uterus. A radiologist – a doctor who does X-rays – watches as a special dye is passed through your body.
A speculum, a device that is placed in your vagina to widen it, will allow the radiologist access to your cervix. This tool allows your provider to use a thin tube with a balloon at the end to inject the dye into your uterus.
The radiologist then watches the dye flow through your system and creates images on a monitor so you can understand what’s going on. They also may ask you to move slightly, or roll on your side or back, to get the best view of your uterus and fallopian tubes.
Some people who have a condition may need Hysterosalpingography to find out whether they have an underlying genetic problem that might prevent them from getting pregnant, or to find out their risk of developing certain cancers or diseases. This can give your partner and you important information for making decisions about family planning.
You will usually be asked by your provider to wear a gown for the exam and to lie down in an examination room on a desk. They will ask you to take off any jewelry or glasses which could interfere with your x-rays.
You will be asked to take a laxative before the test to empty your bowels so that the uterus, and its surrounding structures, can be clearly seen on the X rays. You’ll also be told to leave any valuables at home, such as your cell phone and car keys.
You cannot have this test done if you currently have an active pelvic or sexually transmitted infection, such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea. You must also inform your provider if there is an allergy to iodinated material or any other medication.
Before the test, you might be asked to have blood tests for a specific type of bacteria that can cause pelvic infections. These tests are performed to determine whether you have one of these infections and for how long.
If you have these infections, your provider might recommend antibiotics before the hysterosalpingography to reduce your chance of infection after it. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 131 states that antibiotics are often given for a couple of days after the test in order to prevent infection.