I love modern medical technology. It always amazes me the things that doctors and specialists can do for people. When a friend of mine told me that she was having a hysterosalpingogram (or commonly referred to as a HSG) this upcoming week I became excited for her. As embarrassing as this test can be (But aren’t most of the tests we have done embarrassing to some degree?) it can be very informative. I had this procedure done to look for any abnormalities in my fallopian tubes that could have been blocking the eggs from entering the uterus. The HSG can also detect any abnormalities in the uterus like damage or blockages, fibroids, polyps, scar tissue, and endometriosis. For someone like me who has a lot of scar tissue on the uterus (Thank you complicated c-section!) the test will highlight those areas covered in scar tissue and then the doctor can detect the difficulty in conceiving again and then in supporting the baby to full term.
The procedure is actually pretty simple and takes only 10-15 minutes. You lie back on the table, in the radiology area of the hospital, and then prepare yourself for a normal vaginal exam. The only difference between a normal exam and this procedure is that you have a catheter inserted through your cervix and then into the uterus. While you lie there feeling a little exposed, the technician will monitor the dye as it travels through your uterus. You also will be asked to turn and pose a few times for some x-rays.
With all procedures there are always complications that can, and do, arise. Thankfully with this test the severity of complications are limited. The biggest, and most common, complaint is of spotting and cramping. I would talk with your doctor about taking some ibuprofen, or other light pain medication, before you go to the doctor. My doctor had me take some and I didn’t feel any cramping until a few hours after the test.
If you are special like me and have an iodine allergy MAKE SURE THE TECHNICIAN KNOWS THIS! The dye used in radiology imaging is iodine based and WILL cause you to swell up and become very sick if you have an allergy. My husband complained that the dye gave him a headache and made him feel warm. He compared it to being outside doing yard work in the hot summer sun and the doctor just said, “Yeah some people have said that before.” Thankfully I knew about my iodine sensitivity before the test so I asked for the non-iodine dye. It costs more, but it’s better than swelling and bruising like I’ve been beaten by a boxer! I guess the silver lining to that is if you do have a reaction it will be immediate and you’ll already be in a hospital.
So when your doctor suggests that you have a HSG just be happy that it’ll be short, simple, and fairly painless.
Photo credit- http://www.sxc.hu/photo/941715