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Hysterosalpingogram

A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray test that looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. It often is done for women who are having a hard time becoming pregnant (infertile).

During a hysterosalpingogram, a dye (contrast material) is put through a thin tube that is put through the vagina and into the uterus. Because the uterus and the fallopian tubes are hooked together, the dye will flow into the fallopian tubes. Pictures are taken using a steady beam of X-ray (fluoroscopy) as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg. A hysterosalpingogram also may find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall.

Why It Is Done

A hysterosalpingogram is done to:

  • Check for a blocked fallopian tube. The test often is done for a woman who is having a hard time becoming pregnant. An infection may cause severe scarring of the fallopian tubes and block the tubes, preventing pregnancy. Occasionally the dye used during a hysterosalpingogram will push through and open a blocked tube.
  • Find problems in the uterus, such as an abnormal shape or structure, an injury, polyps, fibroids, adhesions, or a foreign object in the uterus. These types of problems may cause painful menstrual periods or repeated miscarriages.
  • See whether surgery to reverse a tubal ligation has been successful.

How To Prepare

Before a hysterosalpingogram, tell your doctor if you:

This test should be done 2 to 5 days after your menstrual period has ended to be sure you are not pregnant. It should also be done before you ovulate the next month (unless you are using contraception) to avoid using X-rays during an early pregnancy. You may want to bring along a sanitary napkin to wear after the test because some leakage of the X-ray dye may occur along with slight bleeding.

You may need to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of a hysterosalpingogram and agree to have the test done. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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