A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an
X-ray test that looks at the inside of the
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
- 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,
adhesions, or a foreign object in the uterus. These
types of problems may cause painful menstrual periods or repeated
- See whether surgery to
tubal ligation has been successful.
How To Prepare
Before a hysterosalpingogram, tell your
doctor if you:
- Are or might be pregnant.
have a pelvic infection (pelvic inflammatory disease) or
sexually transmitted infection (such as
- Are allergic to the iodine dye
used or any other substance that has iodine. Also tell your doctor if you have
asthma, are allergic to any medicines, or have had a
serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) from any substance (such
as the venom from a bee sting or from eating shellfish).
- Have any bleeding problems or are taking any
blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin or warfarin
(such as Coumadin).
- Have a history of kidney problems or
diabetes, especially if you take metformin
(such as Glucophage) to control your diabetes. The dye used during a
hysterosalpingogram can cause kidney damage in people with poor kidney
function. If you have a history of kidney problems, blood tests (creatinine,
blood urea nitrogen) may be done before the hysterosalpingogram to check that
your kidneys are working well.
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
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?).