A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) uses X-ray and contrast material to look inside the uterus, fallopian tubes and the area around them. It is often prescribed for women having difficulty becoming pregnant or those who have had repeated miscarriages.
To conduct the test, a dye is administered through a thin tube that is inserted through the vagina into the uterus. As the dye passes through the uterus and connected fallopian tubes, pictures are taken using a steady beam of X-ray (fluoroscopy).
The images allow your doctor to see:
> A blocked fallopian tube that can prevent an egg or sperm from traveling freely throughout the reproductive system to achieve fertilization. (Occasionally, the dye may push through and open a blocked tube.)
> Problems with the uterus — such as an abnormal shape or structure, an injury, polyps, fibroids, adhesions or a foreign object — which may cause painful menstrual periods and repeated miscarriages, and can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall.
> Whether surgery to reverse a tubal ligation has been successful.
Before your test, tell your doctor if you:
> Are or might be pregnant.*
> Are allergic to iodine or any medicines, or have had an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a bee sting, shellfish or other substance.
> Have a pelvic infection (pelvic inflammatory disease) or sexually transmitted disease (such as gonorrhea or chlamydia).
> Have asthma.
> Have any bleeding problems or are taking any blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin).
> Have diabetes or a history of kidney problems, especially if you take metformin (Glucophage). The dye can cause kidney damage in people with poor kidney function. In some cases blood tests may be necessary to check that your kidneys are working well.
After your test, you may experience some leakage of the contrast material and/or slight bleeding.
*To avoid X-ray during an early pregnancy, this test should be done 2 to 5 days after your menstrual period has ended and before your next ovulation.