What is hysterosalpingography (HSG)?
Hysterosalpingography (HSG) is an X-ray procedure that is used to view the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It often is used to see if the fallopian tubes are partly or fully blocked. It also can show if the inside of the uterus is of a normal size and shape. All of these problems can lead to infertility and pregnancy problems.
HSG also is used a few months after some tubal sterilization procedures to make sure that the fallopian tubes have been completely blocked. HSG is not done if a woman has any of the following conditions:
What should I do to prepare for HSG?
Your health care provider may recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever an hour before the procedure. Discuss this decision with your health care provider. In some cases, he or she also may prescribe an antibiotic for you to take before HSG. Most people can drive themselves home after having HSG. However, you may not feel well after the procedure, so you may want to make arrangements for someone to drive you home.
How is HSG done?
HSG is done in a hospital, clinic, or health care provider’s office. It is best to have HSG done in the first half (days 1–14) of the menstrual cycle. This timing reduces the chance that you may be pregnant.
During HSG, a contrast medium is placed in the uterus and fallopian tubes. This is a fluid that contains a dye. The dye shows up in contrast to the body structures on an X-ray screen. The dye outlines the inner size and shape of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also is possible to see how the dye moves through the body structures.
The procedure is performed as follows:
Click on the FAQs below to expand
What should I expect after the procedure?
After HSG, you can expect to have a sticky vaginal discharge as some of the fluid drains out of the uterus. The fluid may be tinged with blood. A pad can be used for the vaginal discharge. Do not use a tampon. You also may have the following symptoms:
What are the risks associated with HSG?
Severe problems after an HSG are rare. They include an allergic reaction to the dye, injury to the uterus, or pelvic infection. Call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms:
Are there alternatives to HSG?
There are other procedures that can give your health care provider some of the same information as HSG:
Contrast Medium: A substance injected into the body that highlights internal structures during an imaging study.
Fallopian Tubes: Tubes through which an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus.
Hysteroscopy: A procedure in which a slender, light-transmitting device, the hysteroscope, is inserted into the uterus through the cervix to view the inside of the uterus or perform surgery.
Infertility: A condition in which a couple has been unable to get pregnant after 12 months of trying without the use of any form of birth control.
Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure in which a slender, light-transmitting instrument, the laparoscope, is inserted into the pelvic cavity through small incisions. The laparoscope is used to view the pelvic organs. Other instruments can be used to perform surgery.
Local Anesthesia: The use of drugs that prevent pain in a part of the body.
Sonohysterography: A procedure in which sterile fluid is injected into the uterus through the cervix while ultrasound images are taken of the inside of the uterus.
Sterilization: A permanent method of birth control.
Uterus: A muscular organ located in the female pelvis that contains and nourishes the developing fetus during pregnancy.