The hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a dye study using x-rays to help outline the interior of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
It gives information about the possibility of abnormalities within these structures. Such findings would include polyps, fibroids, or scar tissue in the uterus and obstruction in the tubes.
How the HSG is Done
This test is done right after menstrual bleeding has just ended (usually between cycle days 7 and 12; day 1 is the first day of full menstrual flow). The procedure begins with a speculum exam that allows the doctor to cleanse the cervix with an antiseptic solution (Betadine) and place the HSG catheter in the uterus. This may cause mild cramping. The speculum is removed and a radiopaque dye is gently instilled through the catheter into the uterus. The progress of the dye is monitored on a television screen as it travels through the uterus and the fallopian tubes. Several x-ray pictures will be taken during this time.
A home pregnancy test should be completed prior to having an HSG. We recommend you take 600mg ibuprofen, 30 minutes prior to the procedure.
If you are still having menstrual bleeding, more than spotting, on the day of your test, the HSG cannot be done and must be rescheduled.
If you have a known allergy to x-ray contrast media or iodine, it may not be possible to have an HSG. Please let your doctor know about this situation prior to the test.
Risks of an HSG
There is a rare risk of uterine and/or tubal infection after an HSG. This may be a new infection caused by the procedure or a flare-up of an old infection. If there is a history of pelvic infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to be taken prior to the procedure. However, nothing will totally eliminate this risk. In our experience, this risk is extremely low – less than 1%.