A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a minimally invasive test that can provide highly valuable information regarding potential causes of female infertility. At Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles, CA, Dr. Vicken Sahakian and her team regularly perform HSGs to diagnose issues and determine an effective treatment plan. For most patients, undergoing an HSG is similar to a yearly gynecological examination and involves minimal discomfort.
An HSG involves taking a type of x-ray called a fluoroscopy that uses a contrast material to create video images instead of a still picture. The dye is injected into your reproductive system and highlights uterine abnormalities and blockages in the fallopian tubes. This is a quick, minimally invasive procedure with rare complications. In a relatively short period of time, an HSG can provide valuable information on abnormalities contributing to infertility.
HSG involves taking special video-image x-rays to identify potential causes of fertility issues.
If you have difficulty conceiving or have experienced pregnancy losses, your doctor may order an HSG to diagnose infertility causes. Uterine abnormalities that can be diagnosed with an HSG include:
Uterine scar tissue
Uterine tumors or polyps
Uterine structural anomalies
Fallopian tube blockage
An HSG is a quick procedure that provides important information on your reproductive organs and has minimal side effects and little risk for complications.
Undergoing an HSG is very similar to a standard pelvic exam. You will put on a hospital gown and lie back. Next, a radiologist will insert a speculum into your vagina canal. The cervix is then cleaned, and you may receive a local anesthetic at the cervix to minimize discomfort. A long, thin medical instrument called a cannula is then inserted into the cervix and the speculum is taken out. Dye is injected via the cannula, and enters the uterus and fallopian tubes. Patients occasionally report minor pain or cramping as the dye moves into the fallopian tubes. You will then be placed under an x-ray machine. You may need to change positions a few times so that images can be taken at a variety of angles. When the x-rays are complete, the radiologist will remove the cannula.
Patients may experience cramps and abdominal discomfort similar to a menstrual cycle. Vaginal discharge or minor vaginal bleeding are other common side effects. Following an HSG, patients should use a sanitary pad rather a tampon to control bleeding. Less commonly, women also report feeling dizzy or nauseous. These normal side effects quickly resolve and are no cause for alarm. You should be on the lookout for infection and notify your doctor if you experience:
Severe pain and cramping
Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Heavy vaginal bleeding
Your HSG results will be sent to Dr. Sahakian, and you will review the results together. Depending on the outcome, you may need additional testing, or a fertility treatment plan may be created.
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To make your appointment for an HSG, call our office nearest you. You may also leave us an online message.