A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is often one of the first, necessary diagnostic tests required by various fertility treatments. The test is done in order to determine the current condition of the uterus and fallopian tubes; if the former’s shape is still normal (for optimal reproduction) and if the latter has blockages. This is because if there are issues in the two said structures, they are a telltale sign that the woman is infertile.
The test is also a great way to ascertain if there are scars, tumors, or fibroids in the uterus and fallopian tube, which are also prime factors of infertility among women.
A Unique View on How HSG Testings are Done
Before a test is done, the attending physician asks the patient for a sample of her urine. The sample plays a key initial role in verifying whether a patient is actually pregnant during the time of testing or not. This is very important because the dye that will be used during the testing has negative effects on a developing fetus.
As for the actual procedure, the physician begins by inserting a speculum into the vagina to get a good view of the cervix; this procedure calls to mind how most pap smear tests are done. The cervix is then cleaned using an antiseptic solution. Once this is done, the physician will start inserting a thin catheter into the cervix. This tool is necessary to allow the contrast dye to cover the uterus and fallopian tubes. A few drops of the dye is enough for accurate results.
The patient is then asked to lie on a table to begin the monitoring phase of the test. A fluoroscopy is used in this part of the test, which is a special X-ray technology that works in synergy with the contrast dye. With this tool, the patient and physician can get a real-time view of what’s going on inside the uterus and fallopian tubes as the dye spreads on them.
If the dye is able to travel fluidly through the entire length of the tubes, this is a good indication that the fallopian tubes are not blocked. Of course, an unblocked fallopian tube means eggs can be extracted from them anytime should the patient decide to start any one of many available fertility treatments. The entire procedure only lasts for a maximum of five minutes.
Common Risks and Side Effects
While most HSG tests are deemed completely safe, there are cases where the patient may feel a bit of discomfort during the operation. Mild pain might be felt by the patient in the area around her cervix as well as vaginal cramps and discomforts. There are also cases when the patient might get a vaginal discharge; if this happens, napkins and pads are recommended to control them.
The side effects that one might get from HSG are extremely rare. There have been reports of patients getting a fever or even a full menstruation after an HSG testings. However, these are cases that seldom occur, and if it so happens that the patient starts to feel them, it’s highly advised for her to return to her physician as soon as possible.
Another uncommon risk is infection but this is only a case that has a chance of happening if the patient has been diagnosed as having a fallopian tube problem. If an infection does develop, a round of antibiotics is enough to easily resolve it.
A Completely Safe Procedure
With that said, HSG tests are certainly something that most women, who are considering giving fertility treatments a try, should not feel anxious about. Many of the modern tools that physicians use nowadays ensure that the patient wouldn’t feel the slightest bit of soreness while undergoing the test.
Bloom Reproductive institute is one of the largest providers of advanced infertility treatment in Arizona. We provide the full range of IVF services, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), egg/embryo freezing, embryo blastocyst culture and biopsy, PGS/PGD, and fertility preserving surgery.