Screening & Tests

An x-ray test called a hysterosalpingogram, or HSG is performed to determine whether the fallopian tubes are patent, or open and whether the uterus' interior (uterine cavity) is normal. HSG is an outpatient procedure that typically lasts around five minutes. It is often carried out following the menstrual cycle but before ovulation.

What is Hysterosalpingography?

A skilled specialist will perform an HSG Test, also known as a uterosalpingography or hysterosalpingography, to assess the health of your uterus and fallopian tubes. Your uterus is given a contrast injection, and an X-ray is done to see if the cavity is normal and ensure the fluid is oozing from your fallopian tubes. This fluid typically contains a chromatic dye, making identification simple.

To achieve contrast in a picture through radiography, a material like air or metal like barium is used in the process known as X-ray contrast. X-rays are more intensely absorbed by a positive contrast medium than by the tissue under study. A negative contrast medium, on the other hand, weakens the amount of X-ray absorption.

The HSG technique typically makes use of fluoroscopy with image intensification and a radio-opaque substance. Typically, when examining a tubal rupture, the material flowing into the peritoneal cavity is seen.

What is the need for Hysterosalpingography?

The need for Hysterosalpingography is as follows-

  • Hysterosalpingography, to put it simply, is a histological test performed to identify internal organs connected to the female reproductive system. The doctor can quickly identify the many reasons for infertility as well as other pregnancy-related issues using this test.
  • After a few months of tubal sterilisation, or a tubectomy, HSG is also performed to determine whether or not the fallopian tubes are completely blocked. Additionally, the HSG test aids in highlighting the signs of common reproductive or fertility disorders, such as uterine malformations, Asherman's syndrome, tubal occlusion, and even PID.
  • The main purpose of an HSG test is to assess a woman's actual capacity for reproduction. Since it is a radiological test, it is often carried out in a hospital's radiology department or another outpatient radiology facility. It might also be carried out in a hospital or medical professional's office.

What are the risks of Hysterosalpingography?

A hysterosalpingography rarely has complications. Potential dangers include:

  • Infection- Pelvic infection is the most frequent and significant issue with HSG. Typically, this happens when a woman has already experienced tubal illness (such as a past infection of chlamydia). In some rare instances, an infection can harm the fallopian tubes or necessitate their removal.
  • Radiation Exposure- Compared to a kidney or bowel study, an HSG exposes you to much less radiation. Even if a woman becomes pregnant later in the same month, there is no evidence that this exposure is harmful. When pregnancy is suspected, the HSG should not be performed.
  • Spotting- Spotting might occasionally last for 1-2 days following HSG. If a woman experiences significant bleeding following HSG, she should call her doctor unless specifically directed otherwise.
  • Fainting- In rare cases, the patient might experience lightheadedness during or right after the procedure.

The Bottom Line

For five to ten minutes after an HSG, mild to moderate uterine cramping is typical. But some women might have cramps for a few hours. In case they experience cramping after the procedure, women should be ready to have a family member or friend drive them home.

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1. Does the HSG test hurt?

An HSG frequently causes mild pain or discomfort both during and after the operation. When your doctor inserts the dye solution into your uterus, you might experience cramping. When your tubes are blocked, cramping might be worse. After your procedure, the cramping could last for five minutes to several hours.

2. How long does bleeding last after HSG?

Following HSG, vaginal spotting frequently lasts for 1 to 2 days. If you experience significant bleeding after HSG, you should call your doctor unless otherwise instructed.

3. What must I abstain from following HSG?

You can continue to have cramps following the test that is comparable to menstruation cramps. Additionally, you might experience vaginal leaking or minor bleeding. To avoid infection during this time, use a pad rather than a tampon. After the test, some women also experience nausea and dizziness.

4. Before getting an HSG test, what should I avoid?

Avoid sexual activity a day or two before the exam, stop using creams or other vaginal medications, and refrain from douching. A few hours before the exam, you are allowed to take over-the-counter painkillers. Two hours before the procedure, nothing edible or liquid is allowed.

5. Can an ovarian cyst be found using HSG?

The ovaries and any cysts on them will also be visible. The presence of air bubbles in the water makes it possible to track the bubbles through the tubes and prove that they are open even though the tubes are difficult to see with ultrasound alone.

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