What is a hysterosalpingogram? Also known as HSG…
Hello! My name is Sarah, and I’m a specialist here at Fairhaven Health. From here on out, I’ll be writing the Fairhaven Blog! Some of you may already know me from the OvaCue Blog where I chart my OvaCue Fertility Monitor data and offer insight by interpreting those readings. For those of you that don’t follow me there…Nice to meet you! I have the honor of talking with many wonderful women about their trying-to-conceive journeys and feel fortunate that we’re able to provide them support and assistance. Of course, I’m very familiar with the Fairhaven Health product line (I track my ovulation every day! ) and look forward to sharing advice and information relevant to trying-to-conceive couples. Which brings us to my first topic….
What is a hysterosalpingogram?
Try saying that five times fast! Recently, I’ve had quite a few women call, explaining that they recently had an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) test. While familiar with the term HSG, I’ll admit to not having a detailed understanding of what takes place procedurally in an HSG test. This became very clear when women began calling to discuss changes they were seeing in their OvaCue readings…and I then began digging a bit deeper into this procedure. Little did I know that a saline solution is used often during the procedure, which can alter your electrolyte levels and, thereby, impact OvaCue readings.
An HSG, simply stated, is an X-ray examination of a woman’s uterus and Fallopian tubes. Women that have been trying-to-conceive for some time often undergo this test to determine if a Fallopian tube is blocked, or to find problems in the uterus (such as, abnormal shape or structure, fibroids, polyps, etc). This information can help to eliminate or diagnose an issue that may be impacting a woman’s ability to conceive.
The procedure is often performed just after menstruation, but before ovulation – to ensure that you are not pregnant at the time of the exam. A thin tube is inserted through the vagina and cervix, and finally into the uterus. A contrast dye (which is visible in an X-ray) is then added into the tube and projects into the Fallopian tubes and uterus. As the dye flows through the female reproductive tract, X-ray pictures reveal any blockages or abnormalities. The dye is then absorbed naturally into the body. If a blockage is discovered, certain dyes may be used to remove the blockage.
Many benefits can come from this procedure. It is a short, minimally invasive procedure that can provide valuable information about structural problems that can impact fertility. Another added benefit may be that if a blockage is found during the exam, the dye can potentially unblock and open the Fallopian tube. Risks include exposure to radiation, though minimal. If there is a chance you are pregnant or have an untreated sexually transmitted disease, it is important to discuss these issues with your physician prior to the procedure.
One thing I’ve discovered from discussions with ladies that have undergone this exam is that they experienced some cycle irregularity that first cycle or two after the exam. Some women skipped a period entirely. Interestingly, I wasn’t able to find this “risk” anywhere online. So, please take it with a grain of salt, but it may be something to consider.
Well, there you have it! Now, if you ever hear the term HSG mentioned or if your doctor discusses this as an option for you – at least you have some understanding of what goes into an HSG examination.